Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Andrew Doyle TD, presented the Greyhound Racing Bill 2018 to Cabinet yesterday. The Bill will improve governance procedures and strengthen regulation in the greyhound racing sector.
Speaking after Cabinet approval of the Bill, Minister of State Doyle said: “I believe that this Bill will provide a sound framework for improved governance and regulation in the greyhound industry and that integrity in the sport and the welfare of greyhounds will be greatly enhanced through the regulatory provisions contained within it. I am delighted that Cabinet has today given its approval to the text of the Bill and to its presentation to both the Dáil and Seanad Éireann.”
The new Bill reinforces governance procedures and structures in Bord na gCon, strengthens regulatory controls in the industry, updates racing sanctions and improves overall integrity. It includes the welfare of greyhounds as one of the statutory functions of Bord na gCon and provides it with powers to make regulations in relation to anti-doping, administration and traceability for both integrity and welfare purposes. The Bill reflects recommendations for legislative change made in the Indecon Report, the Greyhound Report of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Morris Review of Anti-Doping and Medication.
The Bill places a strong emphasis on fair procedures, particularly with regard to the conduct of investigations by the Board in relation to breaches of racing regulations and with regard to the conduct of hearings of suspected breaches by the Control Committee.
Minister of State Doyle added: “I believe that the future of the greyhound sector is now much brighter with the sale of Harold’s Cross lifting the burden of debt from Bord na gCon and allowing for investment in stadia and other infrastructure. That future is dependent on a strong governance platform and on the industry having the highest standards of integrity and welfare founded on a strong regulatory system. The provision of a strong legal framework will support the development of the greyhound racing sector in Ireland and ultimately provide a platform to improve its contribution to the economy and employment.”
The greyhound racing sector makes a substantial contribution to the economy in terms of jobs, estimated at 5,000, and as recently as 2017 was also estimated by Jim Power, Economic Consultant, to contribute €300 million annually into local economies.
Also to give maximum impact to the changes proposed in this Bill and to herald a new beginning for the greyhound industry Bord na gCon is being renamed as Rásaíocht Con Éireann.