Greyhound owners ‘furious’ over suspension of industry’s promotion to tourists
Head of IGB says there is a positive story to tell about about racing ‘but it’s not getting out’
Not promoting greyhound racing on the tourism websites would have a negative impact, says IGB chief executive
The decision of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland to suspend promotion of Ireland’s greyhound racing has provoked “fury” amongst dog owners and fans of the sport, the head of the industry has declared.
The suspension decision, pressed by Minister for Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, follows directly on from RTÉ’s undercover Running For Their Lives documentary into greyhound racing earlier this year, the chief executive of the Irish Greyhound Board Gerard Dollard said.
The documentary reported that 6,000 greyhounds are put down in Ireland every year.
The reaction of the greyhound industry to the decision was one of fury, Mr Dollard said.
The Greyhound Board is a semi-state organisation and a legitimate industry and the tourism market was an important demographic for the industry, he told RTÉ News at One. He added that last year about 30,000 tourists were among the 500,000 people who visited greyhound stadia.
Not promoting greyhound racing on the tourism websites would have a negative impact, he said.
There is a positive story to tell about the industry “but it’s not getting out.”
A detailed submission will be made to the two government departments - the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine - outlining the range of measures that have been made to make “significant improvements” in the industry.
“People need to step back and to hear the other side of the story. I hope the message will get across that we are a responsible industry,” he said.
Mr Dollard said that the board awaits the forthcoming budget in the hope that State funding to the industry will be maintained at current levels.