The Irish Greyhound Board is battling back from the damaging dispute in Dublin which shut down the sport in the capital in the first half of the year costing millions in lost revenue and lost prize money.
This week saw the industry come together as part of the National Greyhound Consultative Forum at Limerick Stadium.
The forum was arranged to seek feedback and engagement as to how the industry can best develop in the years ahead. Invitations were sent to a wide range of industry stakeholders including greyhound owners and breeders groups, private stadia, bookmakers and other trade groups.
There remain deep divisions though as was indicated by the lukewarm response by some groups and the comments by Interim CEO Sean Brady about some who are waiting “in the long grass.”
Nevertheless the only way to start a journey is to move on from where you are and that was the emphasis of this event.
Read More: Greyhound Dispute is Over
“This forum is the start of our industry coming together to focus on our renewal and future development,” said Brady.
“The IGB’s efforts will be undermined unless we have buy in from all stakeholders. Our industry faces enormous challenges such as new wagering technologies and the public concern over welfare.”
“These issues are far too serious for some who may prefer to wait in the long grass and not participate. A debt free future now presents a unique opportunity for our sector to come together to address these challenges.”
The forum was chaired by IGB Chairman Phil Meaney who acknowledged the industry had come through a very challenging period but said that it would soon be in a position to re-invest.
There were presentations on marketing, the way the sport was delivering at stadia and how tote betting services were performing.
The agenda then moved on to a discussion by all stakeholders as to the future direction of the industry.
The Board reported that this “covered a number of issues which included the grading system, regulation, recent legislation, improving communications and addressing the public concern about greyhound welfare.”
Another forum meeting is to be held before the end of the year.
It has been a tough first half of 2017. The sale of Harold’s Cross was a bitter pill for many to swallow but it has now cleared a legacy debt built up largely through the construction of Limerick Stadium and this sport, like every other has to take stock of where it is in the eyes of its audience and its participants and move on.
Find out more about our next major event looking at the impact of Sport for Social Good in September 2017.