Government continues to prop up an industry that is in terminal decline 

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns has renewed her call for State funding to the greyhound industry to be phased out after the Government received a detailed report on how revenues from the betting tax are spent.

“The report, which was compiled on behalf of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), shows that almost €1.5 billion of public money went to the Horse and Greyhound Fund between 2001 and 2021. Some of this funding comes from the betting levy, which raises around €100 million per year, with effectively all of it going to horse and greyhound racing over the past two decades.

“The FAI is seeking further analysis of how this money is used, pointing out that there has been a significant increase in the number of people betting on soccer matches in recent years. Notwithstanding gambling reforms currently under way, it has been argued that a fairer spread of income from the betting tax across other sports could provide a more beneficial return for society.

“I believe that any review of how this money is spent should include proposals to phase out public funding of the greyhound industry, which received €18.2 million from the State in 2023 – an increase of €600,000 on last year.

“The Social Democrats have proposed that public funding for the greyhound sector be phased out over a three-year period, with the money diverted to animal welfare charities and other worthy causes.

“It’s time for the Government to get real about using taxpayers’ money on propping up an industry that is in terminal decline and no longer enjoys wider public support. I hope that any analysis of the FAI’s report will spark renewed debate on this issue.”

April 26, 2023

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