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Hayes Publishes Greyhound Racing Review

HAYES AND COVENEY CALL FOR SWIFT ACTION TO IMPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes TD, today published a “Review of Certain Matters relating to Bord na gCon”, prepared by Indecon independent economic consultants.

Bord na gCon is the commercial State Agency charged with the development of a Greyhound Racing Industry estimated to be worth more than €0.5bn to the Irish economy. Minister Hayes commissioned this review in order to assess the suitability of the legal, governance and regulatory framework supporting the greyhound industry and to identify opportunities to maximise the commercial income of Bord na gCon, with a view to assisting the greyhound racing industry in reaching its potential.

Announcing his broad acceptance of the recommendations contained in the report, Minister Hayes said “Having identified a number of critical issues, this report contains recommendations aimed at ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for the greyhound industry so that it can make the maximum contribution to the economy.”  The Review includes a rigorous analysis of the financial performance of Bord na gCon, an examination of its strategic plans and an assessment of matters relating to governance, regulatory controls, greyhound welfare and breeding. The exercise included a detailed examination of the various submissions made through the stakeholder consultation process. The Minister said “The Review contains 27 specific recommendations and outlines a range of practical measures to address the challenges faced by Bord na gCon. It is clear that the sector has been adversely affected by the general economic downturn in recent years, but also that urgent action will be required to put it on a more sound commercial footing into the future.”

Commenting on the detail in the report, Minister Hayes said “I accept the recommendations regarding governance including the composition of the Board and subcommittees, the internal audit and risk management procedures and the need for the Board to address the management resource issues identified in the report. The actions recommended in regard to financial and commercial matters provide a basis for Bord na gCon to address their financial commitments and to place the business on a more sustainable footing. These include the development and implementation of a plan for asset disposal and measures to reduce costs at poorly performing stadia, combined with further development of commercial income streams associated with betting opportunities, TV rights and the possible use of facilities for a range of events. I endorse the recommendations in relation to regulatory controls, animal welfare and greyhound breeding.

While the independence and objectivity of the current Control and Appeals Committees is recognised, I accept the need to ensure that this is seen to be the case. In future, therefore, the Minister will appoint the members of these Committees and their findings will, subject to due process, be published within a pre-defined timeframe. I agree that random off-course sampling for prohibited substances should be undertaken and that annual data on welfare inspections should be published along with the provision of additional resources for greyhound welfare and for breeding incentives. I will make the necessary legislative changes required to implement a number of the recommendations as a matter of urgency”, continued the Minister.

Minister Hayes emphasised the urgency of following on the report’s recommendations “I will be calling on Bord na gCon to consider the recommendations in this review carefully and to present a programme of actions by the end of September, with a timeframe for implementation”. In conclusion, the Minister said “I am fully committed to ensuring that appropriate action is taken by Bord na gCon to safeguard the future of Irish Greyhound Industry which has been estimated to support 10,000 jobs and €0.5bn in economic output”.

Endorsing Minister Hayes’s acceptance of the recommendations in the report, Minister Coveney noted the following conclusion in the report “If action is taken on the recommendations presented, Indecon believes that the organisation will be able to move to a position of higher surpluses and lower debt and provide a platform for the successful development of the sector.  While this will require a period of adjustment it has the potential to provide the basis for the successful development of the sector’. 

 

View this Press release as a PDF: DAFMPR 104/2014 (pdf 646Kb) 

 

Note for Editors

The Report is now available on the Departments website: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/farmingsectors/greyhounds/BordnagConfinalreport7July2014.pdf

Terms of reference: The successful Tenderer, building on the Dalton Report and having regard to the measures taken to date to implement the recommendations contained in the Dalton Report, will conduct a review and will:

assess the appropriateness of the existing legislation in the current operating environment,  particularly with regard to the governance of Bord na gCon, and make recommendations as to any changes required.

evaluate whether the current structure and size of the board and management structure of Bord na gCon is best designed to ensure that the organisation operates efficiently and effectively, in order to maximize the potential of the industry and make recommendations as to any changes required.

against the background of the current financial environment, identify opportunities to increase the commercial income of Bord na gCon assessing levels of debt sustainability and outline the actions required in this regard, including through the development of the breeding sector,  having regard to the Bord na gCon Strategic Plan 2013 to 2017.

assess the appropriateness and effectiveness of the systems operated by Bord na gCon with regard to the regulation of the industry and greyhound welfare and make recommendations as to any changes required.

The successful Tenderer will, in their report, identify measures which can be taken by Bord na gCon aimed at delivering an adequate supply of racing greyhounds for the industry

Date Released: 07 July 2014