More than three hundred people attended the public meeting in Enniscorthy track on Monday night to prevent the closure of the track.
Minister Paul Kehoe told the attendance,
“I don’t trust the IGB board as far as I’d throw them”.
“The IGB are going to spend 1 million euro on Kilkenny, a track that is losing money”.
“They are trying to get rid of private tracks and it infuriates me that Enniscorthy did not get a fair hearing”
“I have no problem asking every board member of the IGB to resign as they are an absolute disgrace”
He went on,
“It’s a dishonour to the greyhound people of Wexford that they are closing down a track that is able to wash its face from a financial point of view”,
“they are trying to get rid of the private tracks”.
Paddy Ryan, director of Enniscorthy track and former racing manager of Shelbourne Park, said,
“It is an absolute disgrace what the IGB are trying to do, they are trying to kill the small tracks. We just need a track, no fancy restaurants, a safe track where owners and breeders can run their dogs”
He went on, the IGB, ‘are completely wrong in what they are doing and I have the figures that the other tracks are losing”,
Cork €370,000 LOSS
Galway €80,000 LOSS
Limerick €430,000 LOSS
Mullingar €200,000 LOSS
Newbridge €20,000 LOSS
Tralee €260,000 LOSS
Waterford €200,000 LOSS
Youghal €180,000 LOSS
those figures are taken from the Bord’s own figures from their 2018 accounts, Enniscorthy lost €10,000 in the same period.
Should Enniscorthy close,
“57% of the people will end their involvement in greyhound racing and only 21% will race at other tracks.”
He also informed the meeting that Indecon used the incorrect attendance figures, 13,809 instead of 18,700, this despite the fact they were informed of the correct figures.
Damien Matthews, Newry, told the meeting that,
“it is very unfair to see the private tracks discriminated against”,
he also pointed out the case where Paddy Owens, Drumbo, took the IGB to the European Court, on the grounds that they cannot discriminate against any track; the IGB lost the case.
The consensus at the meeting was that the IGB should invest in private tracks as there is a better return.
James Browne, Fianna Fail TD, was present at the meeting, he said that
“it’s critical that the track is kept open”
In the Dail last week, Minister Doyle said, it makes no sense that Enniscorthy is being targetted.
He told the attendance,
“there has had to have been a political decision made in the background.”
The qualified barrister went on,
“the legal aspect should be looked at” and that “trigger should be ready to be pulled”
“The Competition Authority needs to look at this”
“we need independent tracks to compete against the IGB”,
if the private tracks are closed we will have a
James Browne, wrote to the IGB seeking an urgent meeting, but they responded by saying they were not available until January, but this has now been brought forward to Thursday.
It is likely that all five Wexford TD’s, plus the delegation from Wexford County Council and the greyhound track will meet Minister Andrew Doyle on Thursday.