Budget 2022: Another €17.6 million granted to cruel greyhound racing

14 Oct

budget 2022 17.6m for greyhound racing copy

Another €17.6 million of taxpayers’ money has been granted to cruel greyhound racing in Budget 2022.

The massive cash injection is a further insult to the two-thirds majority of Irish citizens who want the funding stopped.

The €17,600,000 to Greyhound Racing Ireland is less than the Covid-boosted €19.2 million doled out for 2021 but an €800,000 increase over the 2020 figure of €16.8 million.

The €17.6 million for 2022 is part of a €88 million grant shared between Horse Racing Ireland and Greyhound Racing Ireland (split 80%-20%) and will bring to over €1.5 Billion the amount channelled into the two gambling activities over the past two decades.

The funding for greyhound racing continues despite appalling revelations about cruelty and killing. Greyhound racing is inherently cruel, based as it is on over-breeding greyhounds, keeping the fastest and destroying many of 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”.

The government has refused to stop squandering scarce public funds on greyhound racing despite dwindling attendances at tracks. An Indecon report, commissioned by Greyhound Racing Ireland, 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. 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 Greyhound Racing Ireland’s last remaining Dublin track, Shelbourne Park, sustained a huge 36% drop in attendance in January 2020 – 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 2020 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.

Shame on the government for disregarding growing calls for the state funding to be stopped. They have ignored the results of a RED C opinion poll which found that two out of every three people want funding to greyhound racing ended (just 16% want it to continue). 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 €88 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 €88 million of taxpayers’ money into the gambling activities in 2022, bringing to more than €1.5 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 410,000 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.

Email Fianna Fail TDs

micheal.martin@oireachtas.ie; john.mcguinness@oireachtas.ie; niamh.smyth@oireachtas.ie; brendan.smith@oireachtas.ie; aindrias.moynihan@oireachtas.ie; michael.moynihan.td@oireachtas.ie; Charlie.McConalogue@oireachtas.ie; michael.mcgrath@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

Email Fine Gael TDs

leo.varadkar@oireachtas.ie; 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; Paschal.Donohoe@oireachtas.ie; Alan.Farrell@oireachtas.ie; emer.higgins@oireachtas.ie; neale.richmond@oireachtas.ie; josepha.madigan@oireachtas.ie; colm.brophy@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

Email 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; ossian.smyth@oireachtas.ie

Email Sinn Fein TDs

MaryLou.McDonald@oireachtas.ie; 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; 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

Email Labour Party TDs

brendan.howlin@oireachtas.ie; sean.sherlock@oireachtas.ie; aodhan.oriordain@oireachtas.ie; duncan.smith@oireachtas.ie; gerald.nash@oireachtas.ie; Alan.Kelly@oireachtas.ie; ivana.bacik@oireachtas.ie

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
2022 €70,400,000

Total: €1,240,104,981 / €1,240 million / €1.24 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
2022 €17,600,000

Total: 309,966,146 / €309 million / €0.309 billion

Source: Department of Agriculture

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