As 2014 draws to a close, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the year that has been, and look forward with anticipation to 2015. Thankfully we end this year with a positive, as Christmas party bookings are as healthy as ever - once again confirming "A Night at The Dogs" is still top of customers list when looking for a night out to celebrate with friends and colleagues!
During 2014, we faced many challenges, which we are all aware of, but we should not forget the many positives in the industry. GRI has formed a number of very important global commercial contacts with gaming and gambling corporations who have a worldwide reach and access into the sports betting market around the world. These agreements have the potential to boost our greyhound racing brand worldwide.
We confirmed Boylesports.com as the new Irish Greyhound Derby Sponsors as part of an initial three-year partnership and the Derby Final Night was an example of the industry at its best. The Produce Stakes also confirmed a new sponsorship partnership with BOI Finance and Dublin Coach became not only a sponsor of the Puppy Derby but a travel partner nationwide. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors - both new and old for their ongoing support of our industry.
Looking forward to 2015, the work has already commenced in response to the Indecon recommendations which will help drive our future industry potential. I see the Indecon report as providing a roadmap for all stakeholders in the industry. This is a journey for us all, and there will be some hard decisions to be taken, but my hope that while we might disagree at times that we can unite for the long term success of our sport.
2014 also saw the appointment of Ms Geraldine Larkin as CEO. On behalf of the entire industry, I wish to take this opportunity to wish her every success as she leads the industry out of what has been a very difficult period.
I would like to thank both Minister Coveney and Minister Hayes, who have been tremendous support to the industry this year, as have their colleagues in the Department.
I would like to thank my colleagues on GRI Board for their continued efforts and commitment. A special word of thanks is reserved to the staff at all locations across the country, their hard work is vital to the smooth running of the industry.
Finally, I will end with a thank you to you, our dedicated patrons of the sport.
I wish you, and all greyhound people, both track and field, a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and Happy New Year in 2015.
Chairman, Greyhound Racing Ireland - Rásaíocht Con Éireann