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Minister Hayes presents the Bord na gCon Annual Greyhound Racing Awards

Tom Hayes, TD, Minister of State, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for the greyhound industry, today presented the Annual Greyhound Racing Awards at an event organised by Bord na gCon at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

Minister Hayes noted that “These awards, now in their 49th year, are recognised as amongst the most prestigious in the Irish greyhound racing calendar. Adjudicated on by an eminent group of people drawn from the industry these awards recognise human and canine excellence in the sport of greyhound racing, a sport in which Ireland continues to achieve great success at home and abroad”. 

The Minister commended Bord na gCon for “its unwavering commitment to developing and promoting Ireland as a nation that excels in greyhound racing and breeding with €7.8m disbursed in prize money at greyhound meetings throughout the country in 2013”. He observed that “over 70% of greyhounds now running in Britain are Irish bred”. 

Minister Hayes re-iterated the Government’s commitment to this industry as evidenced by the fact that annual State funding (amounting to €10.84m for 2014) has remained virtually unchanged over the past two years despite the serious financial challenges faced by the country. He noted that the Betting (Amendment) Bill, which will bring remote and on-line betting within the tax net, has been introduced by the Government and is currently making its way through the Oireachtas and will be enacted this year. 

Minister Hayes referred to the independent review of certain matters relating to Bord na gCon which is currently underway. The review encompasses the policy, governance and regulatory framework and the financial situation of Bord na gCon. The report, documenting the findings of the review, will make recommendations as to any changes required to best place the industry to meet the challenges that lie ahead in a very dynamic and challenging environment.  

Concluding, Minister Hayes congratulated all the award winners and commended the continuing efforts of all those involved in the industry – owners, breeders, trainers, kennel staff and the Board and the executive of Bord na gCon – for their valuable contribution to the sector and said “I will continue to work to bring about the changes necessary to ensure a sustainable platform for the future development of an industry that is at the heart of rural economies”.

 

Vier this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR43/2014 (pdf 636Kb) 

Date Released: 24 March 2014