€1.6 BILLION: Government must stop massive grants to horse and greyhound racing

8 Nov

horse and greyhound funding 1.6 billion since 2001 copy

The government has allocated over €1.6 BILLION of taxpayers’ money to horse and greyhound racing since 2001. This outrageous squandering of scarce public funds must be stopped.

The funding doled out through the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund is split 80% – 20% so Horse Racing Ireland has been granted €1,312,904,981 (€1.31 Billion) and Greyhound Racing Ireland €328,166,146 (€328.1 Million).

The funding to Greyhound Racing Ireland has continued despite the results of an opinion poll showing that a two-thirds majority of Irish citizens want the hand-outs to greyhound racing ended (with just 16% wanting it to continue). There are growing calls on the government to also stop funding horse racing.

Substantial portions of the money is also being channelled into cruel fox hunting and hare coursing.

More than €10 million in grants have been paid out to hunts by Horse Racing Ireland in the past ten years. The grants for hunt-organised point-to-point races is helping to keep the bloodsport groups afloat. HRI’s financial support to foxhunts continues despite a majority wanting the bloodsport BANNED.

Greyhound Racing Ireland diverts huge sums into cruel hare coursing, including more than half a million euros for advertising in the Irish Coursing Club’s Sporting Press publication. The sickening figures came to light further to a 4 October 2022 Dail Question from Paul Murphy TD.

Between 2017 and 2022, a total of €513,842 was paid to the Irish Coursing Club for ads in its “greyhound and coursing newspaper”. During the same period, Greyhound Racing Ireland also paid the Irish Coursing Club €6,257 – DNA Fees (2017), €68,367 – Project Traceability & Scanning (2020-2021), €27,495 – Meat Feeder Licence Inspections (2017-2022) and €4,784 – Litters: Covid Support for Owners (2020). Major cash injections from GRI have been going on for years. As reported previously, in 2015 it was revealed that the then Irish Greyhound Board paid over €100,000 to the coursers (for DNA sampling services and advertising in the Sporting Press).

These payments from Greyhound Racing Ireland are undoubtedly helping to sustain cruel coursing. This is particularly deplorable, given that hare coursing is a bloodsport which the vast majority in Ireland want banned.


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

Minister Paschal Donohoe
Minister for Finance
Tel: (01) 618 3689
Email: minister@finance.gov.ie
CC: minister@per.gov.ie (Michael McGrath TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform)
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 call for an end to funding to horse and greyhound racing.

The government’s Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations have channelled €1.6 Billion of taxpayers’ money into the two gambling activities since 2001.

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, schools, 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

Email Labour Party TDs

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

Sign and share the petitions:

Irish Government: Stop giving millions of euros to horse racing

Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Racing https://www.change.org/p/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
2023 €72,800,000 (allocated in Budget 2023)

TOTAL: €1,312,904,981 (€1.31 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
2023 €18,200,000 (allocated in Budget 2023)

TOTAL: €328,166,146 (€328.1 Million)

Source: Department of Agriculture


Over €10 million in grants to hunts around Ireland https://banbloodsports.wordpress.com/2021/09/09/over-e10-million-in-grants-to-hunts-around-ireland/

Watch RTE’s award-winning “Greyhounds Running For Their Lives” documentary

Watch the BBC Panorama documentary “The Dark Side of Horse Racing” https://youtu.be/VlpQhJFd5Bo

Greyhound injuries and deaths at tracks around Ireland

REVEALED: GRI pays coursers more than half a million euros

Irish Government grants to horse racing and greyhound racing 2001-2023 copy

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