BUDGET 2021: €19.2 million more granted to cruel greyhound racing

15 Oct

BUDGET 2021 – 19.2 m for greyhound racing copy

Another €19.2 million of taxpayers’ money has been granted to cruel greyhound racing in Budget 2021.

The massive cash injection, announced by Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue yesterday, is an insult to the two-thirds majority of Irish citizens who want the funding stopped.

Not only has the government refused to comply with the wishes of the majority but it has opted to boost the previous grant by nearly two and a quarter million euros. The Irish Greyhound Board (now known as Greyhound Racing Ireland or Rasaiocht Con Eireann) is now set to receive 14% more than the €16.8 million it received for 2020.

The €19.2 million is part of a €96 million grant shared between horse and greyhound racing (split 80%-20%). It is by far the highest amount allocated to horse and greyhound racing since the start of the Horse and Greyhound Racing fund in 2001 and will bring to over €1.46 Billion the amount of taxpayers’ money channelled into racing over the past two decades.

Minister McConalogue has said that the funding to greyhound racing is “contingent on animal welfare measures being taken” – a farcical statement, given the fact that greyhound racing is inherently cruel, being based on over-breeding greyhounds and destroying those who don’t make the grade.

As exposed in RTE’s award-winning documentary “Greyhounds Running For Their Lives”, around 6,000 greyhounds are killed every year because they are not fast enough to win. A report highlighted in the programme estimated that a total of 17,962 greyhounds were culled in Ireland in 2013, 2014 and 2015. They were killed for “failure to produce qualifying times”, “failure to produce desired entry level times” and for an “unacceptable decline in performance”.

Minister McConalogue is trying to defend the latest €19.2 million for greyhound racing by claiming that the sector is “facing difficulties during the Covid outbreak”.

RTE News has reported that the Minister said the increase in state funding “reflects the fact there have no been attendances at events, which he said has put massive pressure on the sector”.

The fact is that before any COVID19 restrictions were imposed, greyhound racing was experiencing dwindling attendances.

An Indecon report, commissioned by the Irish Greyhound Board and published in May, confirmed that more and more people are staying away from tracks and that the “greyhound industry is likely to experience a continued decline in attendance levels”.

“The greyhound racing industry in Ireland has witnessed a significant decline in attendance over the last decade,” the report outlined. “While 1.1 million attended races in 2008, this fell by 55% to just over 0.5 million by 2018.”

It added that “2019 has also shown a further negative impact which is likely to exacerbate the pre-existing long-term decline” and that the latest attendance figures for January and February 2020 “show that this decline has continued”.

The 2020 figures revealed a major drop in attendance compared to the same period last year. In January, attendance fell 30% from 24,073 to 16,841. In February, the drop was even larger, with attendances a total of 8,682 less compared to February 2019. (from 31,354 to 22,672)

A breakdown of the figures shows that the Irish Greyhound Board’s last remaining Dublin track, Shelbourne Park, sustained a huge 36% drop in attendance in January – down by 2,168 to 3,752, compared to the same month last year. Attendance continued to fall at Shelbourne Park in February – compared to February 2019, it was down by 41% (3,730) to 5,240.

The IGB’s tracks outside Dublin saw an 18.9% drop in attendance in January and a 23.5% drop in February. Attendance at privately-owned tracks plunged 43% in January and 20% in February.

In its report, Indecon notes that “the sector would NOT be financially sustainable if the decline in attendance continues and if the existing cost base is not reduced”. It also notes that the losses incurred have only been sustainable because of ongoing support from the state.

Read the full Indecon report at

Shame on Agriculture Minister McConalogue, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and the government for disregarding growing calls for the funding to be stopped. They have ignored the results of a RED C opinion poll carried out last year which found that two out of every three people want funding to greyhound racing ended. Also ignored were petitions signed by more than 410,000 in Ireland and around the world.

The government should follow the example of our national tourism bodies, Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, both of which have stopped promoting greyhound racing over fears that it damages Ireland’s international image and repels potential tourists.

The funding will only delay the inevitable end of greyhound racing in Ireland but sadly, in the meantime, many more dogs will suffer and die.


The latest €96 million allocation to horse and greyhound racing will be voted on in November or December. Please contact your TDs and urge them to oppose the funding. Visit the Oireachtas website for contact details for TDs https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/members/tds/?term=/ie/oireachtas/house/dail/33

Contact Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and demand an end to state funding to horse racing and greyhound racing. Tell them to redirect the funds to the many deserving charities, health/homeless/environmental groups, sports clubs, animal rescue centres, etc crying out for funding.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin
Email: micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie; info@fiannafail.ie
Phone: +353 (0)1–618 4350 or +353 (0)21-432 0088
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michealmartintd/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@MichealMartinTD

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar
Telephone: +353 (0)1-704 3630 OR +353 (0)1-640 3133
Email: leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie; finegael@finegael.ie
Tweet to: http://www.twitter.com/@LeoVaradkar
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeoVaradkar

Paschal Donohoe TD
Minister for Finance
Email: paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie; minister@per.gov.ie
Tel: 01 6045810
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaschalDonohoe/
Tweet to @Paschald

(If you have time, please write your own personal letter)

Dear Deputy,

I am writing to urge you to please oppose further funding to horse and greyhound racing.

The Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations are set to channel another €96 million of taxpayers’ money into the gambling activities in 2021, bringing to more than €1.46 Billion the amount handed over in the past two decades.

Much of the money given to horse racing ends up as prize money in the pockets of wealthy horse owners and trainers, while the funding for greyhound racing continues despite revelations about obscene cruelty and killing and calls for a ban.

If you saw the “RTE Investigates: Greyhounds running for their lives” documentary, you will understand why there should be absolutely no support given to this shameful industry. The programme revealed that around 6,000 greyhounds are killed every year simply because they are not fast enough to win. We were shown horrifying scenes of greyhounds being delivered to knackeries to be shot in the head. One dog was seen writhing on the ground in agony as his merciless owner drove away https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYTb2qBjlMM

The programme also highlighted the illegal practice of doping dogs to make them run faster or slower to influence the outcomes of races. Also shown were greyhounds with their ears chopped off or burned with acid (to remove identity tattoos before being dumped) and the hellholes that await Irish greyhounds exported to China and Pakistan.

The Irish public is shocked and disgusted at the revelations, which have sparked multiple protests outside tracks.

A RED C opinion poll commissioned by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports and Greyhound Action Ireland shows that two out of every three Irish adults want the government to stop funding greyhound racing [66% Agree, 16% Disagree, 18% Don’t Know] Petitions urging the government to stop the funding have attracted over 400,000 signatures.

It is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE that scarce public funds have been pumped into horse and greyhound racing. It is time for this to be stopped and for the money to be redirected to the many deserving charities, health/homeless/environmental groups, sports clubs, animal rescue centres, etc crying out for funding.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours sincerely,


Email the letter to all Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Green Party, Sinn Fein and Labour Party TDs.

Fianna Fáil TDs

john.mcguinness@oireachtas.ie; niamh.smyth@oireachtas.ie; brendan.smith@oireachtas.ie; aindrias.moynihan@oireachtas.ie; michael.moynihan.td@oireachtas.ie; micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie; michael.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie; Charlie.McConalogue@oireachtas.ie; sean.haughey@oireachtas.ie; jim.ocallaghan@oireachtas.ie; darragh.obrien@oireachtas.ie; jack@jackchambers.ie; anne.rabbitte@oireachtas.ie; eamon.ocuiv@oireachtas.ie; james.lawless@oireachtas.ie; sean.ofearghail@oireachtas.ie; sean.fleming@oireachtas.ie; barry.cowen@oireachtas.ie; willie.odea@oireachtas.ie; niall.collins@oireachtas.ie; Robert.Troy@oireachtas.ie; dara.calleary@oireachtas.ie; thomas.byrne@oireachtas.ie; marc.macsharry@oireachtas.ie; jackie.cahill@oireachtas.ie; mary.butler@oireachtas.ie; james.browne@oireachtas.ie; jennifer.murnaneoconnor@oireachtas.ie; cathal.crowe@oireachtas.ie; james.oconnor@oireachtas.ie; padraig.osullivan@oireachtas.ie; christopher.osullivan@oireachtas.ie; paul.mcauliffe@oireachtas.ie; john.lahart@oireachtas.ie; cormac@cormacdevlin.ie; normafoley1@eircom.net; joe.flaherty@oireachtas.ie; Stephen.Donnelly@oireachtas.ie

Fine Gael TDs

JohnPaul.Phelan@oireachtas.ie; Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie; joe.carey@oireachtas.ie; david.stanton@oir.ie; colm.burke@oireachtas.ie; michael.creed@oireachtas.ie; Simon.Coveney@oireachtas.ie; joe.mchugh@oireachtas.ie; richard.bruton@oireachtas.ie; Eoghan.Murphy@oireachtas.ie; Paschal.Donohoe@oireachtas.ie; Alan.Farrell@oireachtas.ie; emer.higgins@oireachtas.ie; neale.richmond@oireachtas.ie; josepha.madigan@oireachtas.ie; colm.brophy@oireachtas.ie; leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie; jennifer.carrollmacneill@oireachtas.ie; Ciaran.Cannon@oireachtas.ie; hildegarde.naughton@oireachtas.ie; Brendan.Griffin@oireachtas.ie; bernard.durkan@oireachtas.ie; Martin.Heydon@oireachtas.ie; charles.flanagan@oireachtas.ie; kieran.odonnell@oireachtas.ie; Patrick.O’Donovan@oireachtas.ie; peter.burke@oireachtas.ie; fergus.odowd@oireachtas.ie; alan.dillon@oireachtas.ie; michael.ring@oireachtas.ie; helen.mcentee@oireachtas.ie; damien.english@oireachtas.ie; frank.feighan@oireachtas.ie; paul.kehoe@oireachtas.ie; Simon.Harris@oireachtas.ie

Green Party TDs

Eamon.Ryan@greenparty.ie; catherine.martin@oireachtas.ie; patrick.costello@oireachtas.ie; francisnoel.duffy@oireachtas.ie; neasa.hourigan@oireachtas.ie; brian.leddin@oireachtas.ie; steven.matthews@oireachtas.ie; malcolm.noonan@oireachtas.ie; joe.obrien@oireachtas.ie; marc.ocathasaigh@oireachtas.ie; roderic.ogorman@oireachtas.ie

Sinn Fein TDs

john.brady@oireachtas.ie; pat.buckley@oireachtas.ie; Sean.Crowe@oireachtas.ie; david.cullinane@oireachtas.ie; Pearse.Doherty@oireachtas.ie; dessie.ellis@oir.ie; kathleen.funchion@oireachtas.ie; martinkennysf@gmail.com; MaryLou.McDonald@oireachtas.ie; denise.mitchell@oireachtas.ie; imelda.munster@oireachtas.ie; eoin.obroin@oireachtas.ie; donnchadh.olaoghaire@oireachtas.ie; aengus.osnodaigh@oireachtas.ie; louiseoreillysf@gmail.com; maurice.quinlivan@oireachtas.ie; Brian.Stanley@oireachtas.ie; mark.ward@oireachtas.ie; chris.andrews@oireachtas.ie; martin.browne@oireachtas.ie; matt.carthy@oireachtas.ie; sorca.clarke@oireachtas.ie; roseconwaywalsh@eircom.net; reada.cronin@oireachtas.ie; pa.daly@oireachtas.ie; paul.donnelly@oireachtas.ie; mairead.farrell@oireachtas.ie; thomas.gould@oireachtas.ie; johnny.guirke@oireachtas.ie; claire.kerrane@oireachtas.ie; padraig.maclochlainn@oir.ie; johnny.mythen@oireachtas.ie; ruairi.omurchu@oireachtas.ie; darren.orourke@oireachtas.ie; patriciaryan975@gmail.com; pauline.tully@oireachtas.ie; vwynne@gmail.com

Labour Party TDs


Please sign and share the petition

Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Racing

Irish Government grants to horse racing

2001 €47,110,330
2002 €54,452,651
2003 €51,348,800
2004 €53,531,200
2005 €54,680,000
2006 €56,047,000
2007 €58,539,000
2008 €61,028,800
2009 €54,502,000
2010 €47,411,200
2011 €45,830,000
2012 €45,032,000
2013 €44,016,000
2014 €43,376,000
2015 €54,400,000
2016 €59,200,000
2017 €64,000,000
2018 €64,000,000
2019 €67,200,000
2020 €67,200,000
2021 €76,800,000

Total: €1,169 Million (€1.169 Billion)

Irish Government grants to greyhound racing

2001 €11,777,583
2002 €13,613,163
2003 €12,837,200
2004 €13,382,800
2005 €13,670,000
2006 €14,012,000
2007 €14,572,000
2008 €15,257,000
2009 €13,625,600
2010 €11,852,800
2011 €11,460,000
2012 €11,258,000
2013 €11,004,000
2014 €10,844,000
2015 €13,600,000
2016 €14,800,000
2017 €16,000,000
2018 €16,000,000
2019 €16,800,000
2020 €16,800,000
2021 €19,200,000

Total: €292 Million (€0.292 Billion)

Source: Department of Agriculture

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