Greyhound Racing Ireland (GRI) has issued a comprehensive response to the Indecon Report on the Board and the Industry which was published last July.
Indecon outlined twenty seven recommendations on finance, governance, regulation and animal welfare. GRI on Friday October 17th presented a series of time-lined proposals to implement the recommendations to the Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes T.D. Mr Phil Meaney, Chairman of the GRI said that the implementation of the response formulated by the GRI would secure the future of the industry.
The GRI response outlines plans to return the financial performance of the group to an operating profit of €3.5 million and a reduction of bank borrowings to a level appropriate to the GRI business model by the end of 2017. This will be achieved by an integrated programme of measures including the internationalisation of the Irish racing product through co-mingling and streaming, the development of alternative sources of income at stadia and the disposal of core and non core assets. This latter element will include the sale of Harold’s Cross, one of GRI’s two Dublin stadia, and a number of properties and land banks in Cork and Limerick, at a time appropriate to maximise commercial return on the assets. Harold’s Cross will continue to trade in the interim.
Continuation of GRI funding to individual stadia and tracks will be linked to performance. Key Performance Indicators, both commercial and non commercial, will be applied and failure to meet these will result in a diminution or elimination of GRI funding. Ms Geraldine Larkin, CEO of GRI indicated that these new initiatives were critical to ensuring that GRI funds were directed to those tracks achieving the best return for the industry. With limited funds GRI must be certain that there is a return on its investment.
Improvement of governance at GRI will be assisted by an external review of all corporate governance procedures and the establishment of a new Code of Governance appropriate to it. Enhancement of the internal audit function and the expansion of the executive risk committee are also included as part of GRI’s proposals.
Similarly, there will be significant reforms to the regulatory framework of the GRI, both from an operational and legislative perspective. These reforms will be based around the introduction of new and enhanced control measures in all regulatory processes and procedures. In particular, monitoring the use and misuse of substances in the racing greyhound, establishing a clear policy to provide an effective deterrent to licensed parties subject to our disciplinary system and above all ensuring that integrity services in the greyhound industry are aligned with international best practice.
Discussions have already commenced between GRI and the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine officials to identify changes that need to be made in primary legislation to underpin regulation and integrity.
Compliance with the 2011 Welfare of Greyhounds Act will be a requirement for all those in the industry. Sanctions for welfare breaches will include a greater use of existing powers, endorsement of trainers’ licences, issuing of fixed payment notice and exclusion of non compliant owners and trainers from all events licensed by GRI and the Irish Coursing Club. Additional supports will be provided by GRI to rehoming greyhounds when resources permit.
The full text of GRI’s response to Indecon can be found by clicking here.