Thursday, 7 November 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Bord na gCon Expenditure
167. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the new care fund of Bord na gCon was set up; the initiatives and programmes the new fund will cover; the amount spent on each initiative and programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45858/19]
Bord na gCon is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. Bord na gCon (BnG) is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
In August 2019, BnG announced the establishment of a separate Care Fund dedicated to funding a variety of initiatives for the care and welfare of the greyhound, including:
- Various rehoming initiatives in conjunction with the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust (IRGT), established and operated by BnG, which assisted in the rehoming of over 1,000 greyhounds in 2018, including:
- An increase in financial support to private rehoming agencies for the rehoming of retired racing greyhounds in Ireland. Rehoming agencies will now be offered an additional €100 per retired greyhound rehomed in Ireland to encourage and further facilitate domestic rehomings. This support assists with the veterinary costs involved in preparing a retired greyhound for rehoming.
- A partnership initiative is at an advanced stage of discussion between the IRGT and Greyhound Pets of America (GPA). It is expected that on successful conclusion of these negotiations, some 300 retired Irish greyhounds will be rehomed in the US in the first year of the arrangement alone. An initial transportation to Boston took place during September 2019, with the Atlanta branch of the GPA taking seven greyhounds during October 2019. Work is underway to build the initiative with further branches.
- The provision and upkeep of ‘greyhound care centres’, which are intended to help the transition of racing greyhounds from the track to retirement. BnG is currently considering some 16 tender submissions.
- The “Injuries at Tracks Recovery Scheme”, open to all owners and trainers who have incurred veterinary costs in the treatment of greyhounds to repair a career-ending orthopaedic (bone) injury sustained at a BnG licensed stadium.
- A racing greyhound traceability system as provided for in the Greyhound Racing Act 2019. When implemented, it will allow the whereabouts of a racing greyhound to be monitored by BnG throughout its life stages. A tender process is expected to commence within the next two weeks.
Funding for the Care Fund is accrued from the following sources:
- 50% of all existing sponsorships. Bord na gCon has undertaken to continue to match existing prize money structures on existing sponsorships.
- 10% of all admissions
- 10% of all restaurant packages
- 5% of net tote profits
In preparing its budget for 2020, Bord na gCon has estimated that a sum of €750,000 will be generated for the Care Fund. This combined with the funding generated in the latter part of 2019 will ensure a dedicated fund in excess of €1 million for care and welfare initiatives.