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Youghal greyhound stadium is to close

From EchoLive.

Youghal Greyhound Stadium is to be closed by the Irish Greyhound Board.

The Board has released an economic report that has recommended the closure of four of the 16 stadiums across the country.

Despite operating since 1948, the report said that Youghal was loss-making and had the lowest attendance of any venue in the west and south-west

The recommendations of the report have been accepted by the Board of the IGB.

Along with Youghal, stadiums in Enniscorthy, Lifford and Longford will also be shut.

“The infrastructure is poor and the stadia is loss-making and the stadia has a higher level of net contribution from IGB per attendee of any stadia in the region,” the report by Indecon states.

“There is a relatively small percentage of trainers/breeders who use the track. We therefore recommend closure of Youghal stadium.”

They said that in addition to savings in prize money, the closure will result in savings in future operating losses and in the required investment in capital improvements.

“These funds should be used to reduce overall losses and to invest in animal welfare, marketing and capital improvements in other stadia.”

CEO of the Irish Greyhound Board, Gerard Dollard, commented: “The greyhound industry, like many other industries, has to change and adapt to maintain viability for future generations.”

“I acknowledge that the report will make difficult reading for the passionate greyhound community, particularly those who are employed in, race greyhounds or attend greyhound racing in any of the stadia where the cessation of funding is recommended.”

“It is important that members of the public, both inside and outside of the industry, have a chance to assess the outcome of the independent study and express their views before the recommendations are implemented.”

According to the report, Indecon judged the stadium to be poor condition and merited a rating of ‘very poor’ on fire safety, building energy efficiency and ease of access.

The general visitor experience is also judged to be poor.

However, a survey of the users of the stadium including greyhound breeders, trainers and dog owners found a more positive response.

More than 85% of them found the general ambience of the stadium to be excellent or good while 86% also believed Youghal stadium was easy to access.

Despite this, it has been decided to close the stadium with IGB ceasing to fund the venue.