Introductory meeting with Mr. Tim Lucey,CEO of Rásaíocht Con Éireann and representatives from The Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation 

February 1st 2024 


Damian Matthews, Chairperson IGOBF 

Deirdre Leahy, Secretary IGOBF 

Geoff Parnaby 

Clare Hanley 

Four representatives from The Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation met with the new CEO of RCÉ in Dublin. 

Back in early 2022 twelve key issues were identified by our affiliated GOBAS and discussed at a meeting between RCÉ representatives and The IGOBF. 

Two years later we are back with the same 12 issues. 

Following a very positive and constructive discussion we are very hopeful our new CEO can progress from the stalemate that unfortunately has occurred in the interim. 

The current distribution of prizemoney on the SIS RACING is on a trial basis for 3 months and will be reviewed at the end of March. 

 12 Key issues our members have brought to us to have addressed. 

 1. An agreed action plan for track maintenance at every track for trials and racing.

Safety at every track with the emphasis on the surface being properly prepared and maintained was the number one key issue agreed by all GOBAS. 

***All Ground-staff at every track should have to undergo training and have regular oversight. 

 2. Ring Fence significant portion of the Horse and greyhound fund for prizemoney. (55%) 

***Good prize money is a top priority. 

***A survey of how prizemoney is divided should be undertaken. 

***Our members racing on SIS are very unhappy with certain aspects of the new SIS prizemoney distribution. 

 3. Reduce race entry fees and no more additional costs on owners and breeders. 

***Restore the breeder’s prizemoney initiative. 

***Restore trainer’s incentive. 

 4. Private tracks 

Re-examination of their funding to see if we can level the playing field with the GRI tracks. They are significantly disadvantaged. 

***We are seeking a commitment that this will be looked at and costed. 

 5. More transparency on Racing Pools by grades.

Suggestion to publish monthly on Talking Dogs/Sporting Press. 

***Commitment to re-examine the racing calendar. 

***The prize money for the top two/three most prestigious stakes at every track should be prioritised to be increased and promoted. 

This really helps every track bring the best greyhounds and the best crowds and will lift the sport across the country. 

***Commitment for a review of all stakes to receive increased prize money and promotion. 

 6. Complete review and overhaul of the Barking Buzz platform. 

To allow new revenue streams into our sport we must consider engaging with the top betting companies and bring our live racing streaming to a global market. 

**We should be aiming to increase the online revenue turnover annually by a target percentage. 

 7. Request confirmation that IGOBF will have consultation and input with OKS Consultants before the final draft of the IRGT rehoming/retirement strategy is agreed/published.All retired greyhounds should be rehomed through the IRGT. 

***Waiting times for rehoming greyhounds are currently not optimal through IRGT. 

 8. An agreed action plan to deal with negative publicity, online bullying, targeting sponsors, anti-racing propaganda and a strategy to counter those who deliberately undermine/tarnish greyhound racing in the media and with politicians etc. 

*Our members are prepared to play our part to defend our sport and it should be a united approach. 

 9. Drug testing.

We are seeking a new evaluation of best practices, more detailed information about thresholds, more regular communication to our members about all aspects of drug testing. 

***We must build trust and confidence in the testing system. 

 10. Clear communication from GRI regarding upgrading to Shelbourne Park, Kilkenny track and any other developments is requested. 

*An update at our next meeting. 

 11. Young people in our sport are vital to our future success.

Conduct an online survey (survey monkey) amongst the younger age groups and allow them to have a voice in the future of our sport. 

***Agreement on a survey and 

***build new initiatives for young people based on their own suggestions. 

 12. A new focus on building attendances, benefit nights, fundraisers, building our business and attracting greater attendance to stadia and online audiences. 

***A long and short term strategy to drive the business forward and to market it properly. 

The IGOBF also provided Mr. Lucey with spreadsheets showing the decline of prizemoney and emphasised the cost of living crisis and the loss of income for breeders, trainers and owners due to the cancellation of breeder’s incentive, novice incentive scheme, trainers run money incentive etc. 

Other matters mentioned. 

*Rehoming and welfare. 

*New developments at Shelbourne Park and Kilkenny. 

*Feeding of category two meat to racing greyhounds. 

*Dialogue with stakeholders and new ways to improve this. 

*The new five year plan is likely to be published in May 2024 

*Positive developments at Lifford track. 

*The best financial deal with SIS for our Irish racing. 

*Working smarter not harder by vastly improving online entry system for racing entries. 

*Third level courses and certification for canine/greyhound care. 

*Improvements to GRI website. 

*Use of head-on cameras to monitor seeding, disqualification etc. 

*A unified industry with best welfare at the core of every decision. 

*New gambling legislation. 

*Historically we have very strong links and a great relationship with the GAA and we need to continue to build on working with clubs and charities. 

*Promoting our sport on local radio and on social media. 

*Removal of vat on dog food. 

*Impact of Brexit on exports. 

*Our members do not want greyhound racing decoupled from horse racing and we appreciate the value of The horse and greyhound Fund for our industry. 

*Young people and the future generation of our industry. 

*Improvements at stadia that will enhance the quality of the race goers experience on a night out.