The Irish Coursing Club is to get more than a quarter of a million Euro from Bord na gCon (the Irish Greyhound Board), it has been announced.
The major cash injection will reach the coursers in the form of a payment for greyhound racing advertising in the "Sporting Press". We understand the exact amount will be 296,000 Euro over an initial two year period.
The move was described as "an extraordinary about-turn" by Irish Independent greyhound columnist, John Martin.
"Bord na gCon have decided to double what they spend on advertising with the Irish Coursing Club-published Sporting Press newspaper," he wrote. "The significant increase comes following a high-powered meeting at Powerstown Park in Clonmel between the top brass of Bord na gCon and the Irish Coursing Club. What makes the move significant is that it overrides a decision made by Bord na gCon at the end of last year not to advertise at all with the weekly industry organ."
The massive payment is seen as a temporary lifeline for the Irish Coursing Club who have been crying out for a grant from the greyhound board. Animal Voice readers will recall from the October 2004 edition that Bord na gCon had previously approved "in principle" a quarter of a million Euro grant for coursing out of the 12 million Euro of taxpayers' money they receive annually from the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism.
This grant never materialised. But what we have instead is an even greater payout to the coursers by the Irish Greyhound Board. ICABS is disgusted that the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O'Donoghue, allowed this transaction to take place. The Minister is well aware of the overwhelming opposition to hare coursing in Ireland and has disregarded appeals for taxpayers' money to be kept out of the hands of blood sports groups.
Please lodge a complaint with Minister John O'Donoghue. Ask him why Bord na gCon was permitted to make this payment to the coursers. Remind him that eighty per cent of Irish people want coursing banned and that coursing has been stopped in our neighbouring jurisdictions - Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Minister John O'Donoghue
Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism
South Frederick Street Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-631 3802
Fax: 01-679 9291