Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill has called on the Agriculture Minister to explain why under the government’s COVID-19 roadmap, horse racing is allowed to return behind closed doors on the 8th June but greyhound racing is not permitted before Phase Three (29th June).

He’s calling for a level playing field for the greyhound sector and is asking the government to consider allowing both sports to return on 8th June.

Deputy Cahill explained, “There is absolutely no doubt that public health must be the priority at all times, and I want to acknowledge that the greyhound sector has played its part during this pandemic and fully adhered to all the public health advice and restrictions.

“However, following the publication of the government’s roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions and reopen Ireland’s society and economy, many people in the greyhound industry were confused as to why racing could not begin again until Phase Three (29th June) when horse racing is being allowed to proceed in Phase Two (8th June). If the same rules and regulations are followed, I don’t understand why there would be any distinction between the two sports.

“It’s very difficult to explain to the people on the ground how horse racing that involves a groom, jockey, stall handlers, owners and trainers can apply social distancing to race from the 8th of June but greyhound racing – with one man one dog – must wait until 29th June. If anything, greyhound racing behind closed doors should be returning first.

“I have asked Minister Creed to explain the rationale behind this decision and to examine if the date for the return of greyhound racing, behind closed doors, can be brought forward in line with horse racing”.