Bord na gCon to use €6m from Harold’s Cross sale to improve other dog tracks

Greyhound racing body sold Dublin dog track to Department of Education for €23m

Harold’s Cross Greyhound Stadium  was sold last year to the Department of Education. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Harold’s Cross Greyhound Stadium was sold last year to the Department of Education. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

State greyhound racing body, Bord na gCon, has confirmed that it will spend almost €6 million from the controversial €23 million sale of Harold’s Cross dog track in Dublin on boosting facilities at other stadia.

Bord na gCon subsidiary, Dublin Greyhound and Sports Association Ltd, which owned Harold’s Cross, sold the track last year for €23 million to the Department of Education.

The deal sparked a political row as valuers had put a €12 million price tag on the property, while greyhound trainers and owners protested at the closure of one of Dublin’s two dog tracks.

A breakdown of how the State body has spent the €23 million, provided by Bord na gCon, shows that it has earmarked €2.8 million for work to Dublin’s other track, Shelbourne Park.

Improvements

Bord na gCon’s chief executive, Gerard Dollard, told the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that this would include drainage work and track improvements at the capital’s other dog racing venue.

The greyhound board intends spending a further €2 million on work at other tracks around the Republic and €1 million on information technology upgrades, bringing the total allocated to improvements to €5.8 million.

Mr Dollard told the PAC that the board was installing a central race management system, while it intended boosting vets’ facilities, fire safety and other features, at tracks around the Republic.

Bord na gCon’s breakdown shows that €16.2 million of the total went to repay a debt due to AIB.

The State body put Harold’s Cross on the market to raise cash to repay the debt. The track’s closure led to protests which halted racing at Shelbourne Park in 2017.

Viable

Those opposed to the deal argued that Harold’s Cross was viable and provided an outlet for smaller greyhound training operations whose interests were being sacrificed to clear the State body’s debt.

Shelbourne now stages racing four nights a week, up from three nights before the closure of Harold’s Cross, which raced twice a week.

Payments to lawyers and other advisers on the sale accounted for the remaining €1 million of the €23 million total.

Mr Dollard told TDs at last month’s PAC meeting that a revaluation of Bord na gCon’s fixed assets show a fall in their value to €29.4 million from €51.5 million in last year’s financial statements. He noted that this did not hit cash flow or operations.