Hopes of saving Youghal Dog Track are alive after almost 400 patrons attended a public meeting at the East Cork venue held on Thursday 12 December.
The large attendance was told, following what is termed a flawed report into the operations of the Track, that the Youghal Track Supporters Club would be bypassing the Irish Greyhound Bord (IGB), to assert political pressure to keep it open.
The Indecon Group commissioned by IGB to carry out an economic review into the operation of all 16 of its stadia as it struggles to cope with financial issues, recommended the closure of Youghal along with Lifford, Enniscorthy and Longford.
Chairman of the Youghal Track Supporters Club, Paidi Walsh, said the 147 page report was littered with errors regarding the operation of the East Cork site.
“Financial sustainability, it said in the report, we didn’t have it. Youghal Greyhound Track in 2018 made a profit of nearly €33,000.”
The 2018 figures were based on one night’s racing a week broadcast on the SIS betting app. This year’s profits are expected to be much higher, with two nights of racing a week covered by the Global Broadcaster.
Mr Walsh said the Indecon Report excluded almost 8,000 patrons to the track during the summer months when entry to the course is free, a time which is very profitable for the track.
The Chairman of the Track Supporters Club said if that attendance had been included in the Report, it would put Youghal above 6 other tracks in the Country, beaten only by Limerick, Cork and Shelburne Park in visitor numbers-all Courses which are located in in big towns.
He said Youghal parking was plentiful and fit for the purpose. The Indecon Report, however, claimed the site was devoid of parking.
John Coleman, a Director of both the British Greyhound Board and the British Greyhound Racing Fund, said the East Cork course had an ally in Gordon Bissett, Operations Manager with SIS Betting Service.
Mr Coleman, who first attended the Track when it opened in 1948, said the SIS view the closure with “great dismay.”
He said Mr Bissett and SIS “are solidly behind keeping the Track open” and would be raising the matter with the IGB when they meet with them in January.
“SIS are a very powerful organisation and, moneywise, IGB highly depend on them. I would think Gordon Bissett would have some influence on how a decision would go with the Track.”
“Above all Tracks in the Country this is the Track he would like to do business with” said Mr Coleman.
He added that if the IGB were to close Youghal they could be met with a bill of €100,000, believing the land is indefinitely leased under Agreement, to return it to a Greenfield site.