Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 24 October 2019
Public Accounts Committee
2018 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 30 - Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Chapter 10 - Forestry Grants
My question is on a broader issue than that of the racing greyhounds; it is about the canine industry. It is possible that the animals we saw on that television programme were formerly involved in the greyhound racing industry, although they may not have been. I do not know. I am not sure. The point I am making is that many things are happening in the canine industry that are not connected to racing greyhounds. That is a subset. This is about animal welfare. People are as concerned about puppies, little terriers, or nice labradors being mistreated as about greyhounds being mistreated. We have concentrated on greyhounds because there is a State body involved in the area at which we and the public can have a go. The Irish Coursing Club, ICC, however, is a private organisation and gets no funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. In following this issue in recent meetings, I have been mystified as to why a private organisation is stitched into national legislation. It is a policy matter but, as Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, I would say that, if we are interested in animal welfare, it makes no sense that a private charity with no public accountability can be responsible for registration in the canine industry, of which the Irish Greyhound Board is only a subset. Who does the chipping? Is it the board or the Department?