The IGB has been in almost daily contact with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) since the commencement of racing behind closed doors on 12th March 2020 and suspension of racing activity on 24th March last. The priority approach was to implement the COVID-19 Greyhound Care Payment Scheme which provides for a payment of €2 per day for qualifying greyhounds. The IGB is making the COVID-19 care payment in respect of 6,647 greyhounds resulting in a monthly spend of €412k.
The Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business was published by Government on 1st May 2020. Greyhound racing similar to horse racing and unlike other sports such as GAA, rugby, soccer etc is not referenced in the Roadmap. The IGB sought clarity from the Department regarding the status of greyhound racing and outlined our approach to resume greyhound racing in terms of trials and racing behind closed doors.
The IGB was at a loss to understand why greyhound racing, on a risk basis, was not assessed as being capable of operating behind closed doors from 8th June 2020 and was not included in the decision by Government on Friday last. Our policy of 'one person, one dog' significantly reduces any risk associated with racing activity. We have sought clarity from the Department and government regarding the situation. Working with the greyhound community the case is again being put strongly as to the basis on which greyhound racing can resume in a safe manner and in compliance with all COVID-19 protocols.
The IGB has previously advised its intention of commencing trails on 8th June 2020.