The Irish Greyhound Board has announced the appointment of Indecon Economic Consultants to undertake a comprehensive, strategic review into the future needs of its 16 licensed stadia.
The appointment was made following a competitive tender process.
The review will form an integral part of the IGB’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022, and will provide an assessment of stadium infrastructure and financial sustainability, along with detailed recommendations regarding the 16 licensed stadia.
A completed overall report is expected later this year.
The brief for the study includes the following:
- Assessment of the infrastructure, services available and standard of facilities at all 16 licenced greyhound stadia in Shelbourne Park, Curraheen Park, Youghal, Limerick, Tralee, Galway, Mullingar, Waterford, Newbridge, Longford, Kilkenny, Clonmel, Thurles, Dundalk, Enniscorthy and Lifford.
- A financial assessment of the future sustainability of each individual track.
- An analysis of population catchments and access arrangements for each individual greyhound track.
- An analysis of racing schedules for each greyhound stadium.
- An assessment of any impact arising from availability of breeders or trainers within the catchment area.
- An analysis of relevant competing sporting facilities within the catchment area.
- Recommendations regarding the appropriate industry footprint for the future including detailed recommendations regarding individual stadia.
The closure od Harolds Cross Stadium in 2017 caused months of deep strife within the industry and an almost six month shutdown of racing in Dublin as protests were held at Shelbourne Park.
The sale was needed to clear legacy debt and put the sport on a more solid financial footing and it has to be hoped that this report will aid that process.
There will be fear in certain quarters that any ‘assesment of sustainability’ may in fact lead to further closures but having an independent review based on fact rather than feeling will be an essential, even if it does somewhat shake the status quo.
“Stadia will be assessed on an individual and collective basis in several different areas, including finance, population catchment and other competing sporting facilities near each stadium,” said Irish Greyhound Board CEO Gerard Dollard.
“The greyhound industry, like lots of other industries, has had to change and adapt in a number of different ways in recent years. This review, which is a big step forward in the implementation of the IGB’s five year strategic plan, will progress the industry’s footprint for the future.”
“Indecon is looking forward to compiling this strategic review into the future needs of each greyhound stadium within the Republic of Ireland,” added Dr Ronnie O’Toole of the consultants.
“The review will be tasked with making recommendations for the future of the Irish greyhound industry as a whole. We look forward to engaging with all stakeholders with an interest in the greyhound industry in Ireland.”
Stakeholders within the industry will also be consulted within this independent review.
Indecon has previously worked on reports for Horse racing Ireland, Sport Ireland, Special Olympics Ireland and most recently the National Lottery with a major report published in December.