The Green Party has today questioned the decision of the Irish Greyhound Board to commence morning greyhound racing at St James Park in Kilkenny.
Local Green Party Councillor Malcolm Noonan, who has previously protested outside the track due to animal welfare issues, said that the decision would further add to the misery inflicted on families through gambling addiction and exacerbate traffic problems in the area surrounding the dog track.
“I am deeply concerned regarding this decision. Gambling addiction is a hidden disease within our community, disproportionately affecting low income families and with a worrying trend with young boys in particular getting into difficulty. This decision to allow morning racing only provides another outlet for betting, and by the Greyhound Board’s own admission is about gaining a slice of the lucrative betting industry. Ireland has the highest rate of online gambling in the world and the highest rate of gambling losses in the EU. Do we really need another outlet for such misery?”
Cllr Noonan said the Kilkenny Dog Track is situated beside two of the city’s biggest schools – the Loreto and St Canice’s National School – across the road from St Luke’s Hospital and near a very large warehousing distribution centre.
“Decades of failure to advance the completion of a ring road around the city means that much HGV traffic passes along this route along with school traffic, commuting traffic, and traffic generated by the hospital. It is baffling to think that morning racing could proceed in one of the most congested and dangerous areas of the city.
“I am also deeply concerned about animal welfare issues within the greyhound industry. It is heavily subsidised by the State, yet no profits or betting duties are returned towards animal welfare charities or towards gambling addiction services. It is in my view a deeply unethical industry and I reflect the views of very many people here in Kilkenny who do not wish morning racing to proceed. I am calling on The Irish Greyhound Board to reconsider this initiative as it is wholly inappropriate and socially destructive.”
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