Budget cuts hard but could have been even harder; MICHAEL FORTUNE'S IRISH VIEW.
Following the meaty cuts of 13 per cent in the Government's Horse and Greyhound Fund in each of the last two Budgets, a reduction this time of 3.3 per cent was easier to take.
However, what it effectively means is that greyhound industry funding will drop by a further EUR400,000 and this at a time when overall industry turnover is suffering badly.
It has not been a great year for turnover at the tracks, although the opening of the new Limerick Stadium has provided a huge boost in the final few months of the year.
On the negative side, the hugely lucrative Christmas party trade has been decimated by the unseasonably cold blast that has caused the cancellation of a large number of meetings since the last weekend of November.
So the industry is left with a situation whereby it must recover the EUR400,000 as well as the lost income if previous standards are to be maintained.
Reacting yesterday, Irish Greyhound Board chairman Dick O'Sullivan said: "On the bright side it could have been worse of course, but I feel that the lobbying of the departments and the Ministers and the Taoiseach has got the message across of the significant role the greyhound industry plays in the general Irish economy.
"However, we also know that the general public will have less money available to them to spend at our stadia and this will have a much bigger effect on our income streams.
"We will take time to consider the overall impact and come up with the best set of measures to keep protecting the industry."
O'Sullivan welcomed the news that a new funding system is being put in place by means of bringing all online and telephone betting into the betting tax umbrella.
"When in place this will mean both the HRI and the IGB will have guaranteed funding and that will allow proper industry planning to allow growth," he concluded.
Dick O'Sullivan: 'It could have been worse'