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Lifford greyhound stadium set to close with the loss of 25 jobs

Stadium will close permanently on August 17

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Lifford greyhound stadium set to close with the loss of 25 jobs

Lifford Greyhound Stadium is set to close its doors later this month with the last scheduled meeting taking place on Saturday, August 17.

Around 25 full-time and part-time jobs will be lost.

On Thursday evening the news was announced.

While it has been greeted with disappointment among greyhound followers in the north-west, it is not a surprise.

In recent weeks, a number of notices were published claiming a lack of support from the Irish Greyhound Board and concern was also raised about getting sufficient numbers of dogs for racing.

During the Celtic Tiger era, there was racing on three days a week, and the venue attracted big crowds.

However, for the past number of years, greyhound racing has taken place in Lifford just once a week, on Saturday nights, and attendances have fallen off considerably.

A statement from the track said: “Due to an ongoing lack of support from the Irish Greyhound Board we regretfully announced that Lifford Greyhound Stadium will be closing its doors permanently on August 17th.

“While this has not been an easy decision to make, we would like to thank all the owners, trainers, customers and all the hardworking staff that have helped us over the last 15 years.”

Interestingly, it added: “If you oppose this decision, we would invite you to speak to the Irish Greyhound Board as we would be happy to continue to support greyhound racing in the north-west.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Greyhound Board, issued the following statement:

“The Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) notes the decision of Lifford Greyhound Stadium to cease operations.

“The IGB very much regrets the closure of Lifford Greyhound Stadium and its impact on staff, owners and the wider greyhound community.

“The IGB is very aware of the excellent work done by all those at the track as part of the greyhound fraternity. The Duffy family, owners of the track, have a long association and strong commitment to greyhound racing.”

It continued: “While Lifford is a private track and not in the ownership of the Irish Greyhound Board, the IGB has provided wide ranging support to Lifford for a long period of time. This included a significant capital financial investment in providing the current facilities at the stadium. The IGB has engaged with Lifford in recent times regarding financial difficulties at the track, which included a meeting between the Board and Lifford’s owners in May 2019.

“However, the arrangement of the type sought by the stadium representatives at that time is not within the mandate of the Board as a semi-state company and does not meet the corporate governance requirements applying to the IGB.”

In conclusion, the IGB noted that Indecon Economic Consultants is currently conducting a comprehensive, strategic review into the future needs of the Irish greyhound industry, with a full report expected by October 2019. The review will provide an assessment of stadium infrastructure and financial sustainability, along with detailed recommendations regarding all licensed stadia.

Last year, Lifford Greyhound Stadium, which is privately owned, was put on the market with a price tag of around €2 million – but was not sold.