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Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) / Greyhound Racing Ireland (GRI) today welcomes the budget allocation of €17.6m for greyhound racing from the Horse & Greyhound Fund.
GRI says the allocation will assist with the continued significant expansion of a range of care and welfare initiatives during 2022 and assist with the commercial challenges as the industry recovers from the impact of restrictions experienced during the pandemic.
The governing body for Greyhound Racing in Ireland says the Horse & Greyhound Fund is critically important for an industry that made net contributions to the Irish economy of €132.3M and supported 4,150 full-time and part-time jobs in 2019, the last full year of operation.
“Key priorities of the Board for the remainder of 2021 and throughout 2022 include the continued expansion to the Care and Welfare Programme and the restoration of commercial activities post-COVID-19,” explained Mr Frank Nyhan, Chair of the Board of GRI.
“Income generated from gate admissions, tote operations, restaurant facilities and other areas have been severely impacted by Covid-19 and like other sporting organisations across the country, GRI has greatly benefited from Government support in recent Budgets.
“While last year’s Budget allocation and additional government employee support schemes assisted the organisation in countering some of this lost income, it also enabled GRI to continue expanding on the range of care and welfare initiatives that it operates.”
Mr Nyhan added: “During our engagement with our parent department in recent months we emphasised the crucial need for continued funding to ensure our comprehensive plans regarding animal welfare are delivered along with the commercial and operating challenges encountered since the beginning of the pandemic. On behalf of the Board and the wider greyhound racing community in Ireland, I would like to acknowledge the Government’s ongoing support for our industry.”
He said that the GRI has invested significantly in its care and welfare programme during 2021 despite the impact on commercial operations during COVID-19.
He confirmed that the funding allocated to greyhound racing under the Horse & Greyhound Fund will assist the organisation in its care and welfare programme expansion plans for the remainder of the year and throughout 2022.
The plans include a further expansion of the Care Centre/Foster Centre Programme and continuing to financially incentivise the rehoming of greyhounds in Ireland through additional supports through the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust (IRGT).
From January to September 2021, the rehoming of 1,610 greyhounds have been achieved compared to 1,775 for the full year of 2020.
Additionally, further investment will be required for the next phase of the rollout of the Rásaíocht Con Éireann Traceability System (RCÉTS), which was launched in January 2021.