Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Food and Horticulture, Jackie Cahill has said that in order to avert a systemic, and potentially industry destroying crisis in the Irish greyhound industry meaningful negotiations, mediated by an independent observer, must be urgently convened between Bord na gConn and the Dublin Dog Owners and Breeders.

Deputy Cahill was speaking following a meeting of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party where the ongoing picket of Shelbourne Racetrack was discussed.

“Let me be absolutely clear. This dispute has arisen as a direct result of the underhanded way in which Bord na gConn unilaterally closed the Harold’s Cross track.

“If Bord na gConn agrees to meaningful negotiations, I believe that the Dublin dog owners should suspend their picket of Shelbourne Park to allow the discussions proceed.

“The special status of those who raced dogs at Harold’s Cross must be reflected in the negotiations, and the severe losses incurred by them must be discussed in detail, with a sustainable process put in place to support them, and the industry as a whole.

“Equally, in order to ensure that there is confidence among all stakeholders, both in Dublin and across the country, Fianna Fáil believes that the Minister should expedite the passing of the Greyhound Bill that is currently before the Oireachtas Committee, and use its provisions to oversee a root and branch reform of the governance structures of Bord na gConn.

“The current picket of Shelbourne Park racing is having an economic and damaging effect on the industry. I don’t believe that anyone wants to see this happen. The industry is at a crossroads. Time is running out to find a fair and sustainable solution to the current issues affecting the industry. The only way we can move forward is through negotiation,” concluded Cahill.