County Cork Councillors were up in arms at the news that Youghal Greyhound Stadium is to be closed by the Irish Greyhound Board based on an economic report that showed it is loss-making and had the lowest attendance of any venue in the west and south-west.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Frank O’Flynn from Fermoy said the closure would be a tremendous loss to East Cork and called on the council to write to Minister Micheal Creed and ask him to put the decision on hold.
“We need to fight this decision. It is an absolute disgrace.”
Councillor James O’Connor said the RTÉ Investigates documentary ‘Running for Their Lives’ was not an accurate reflection of the owners in East Cork and the decision to close a quarter of stadiums within a couple of months is a concerning move.
Fine Gael Councillor Michael Hegarty disputed the economic report that said the stadium did not make a profit last year and emphasized the social aspect of the sport.
“This is logic gone out the window.”
Youghal Independent Councillor Mary Linehan Foley said that she can watch the dogs from her garden so she is well aware of how popular the events are.
“I don’t get where this is coming from, this is an absolute shock. Youghal is solely dependent on tourism, between the Ironman, the boardwalk, the greenway and the Greyhound track compliments that. It can’t happen.
“People come from all over the country to Youghal to go to the Greyhound track.”
West Cork Fine Gael Councillor John O’Sullivan said in his experience, the people he knows, “treat greyhounds better than children.”
“There is a social and exercise element to owning greyhounds, The value of this is more than money. The board have to stand up for their industry.”
Social Democrat Holly McKeever Cairns said she was not in favour of the council taking steps to protect the industry and urged the council members to watch the RTÉ Investigates documentary.
The council noted Ms McKeever Cairns comments but agreed to write to the minister.
A meeting is also being held at the Walter Raleigh Hotel in Youghal at 8pm on Thursday night to discuss the plans to close the stadium.