PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS 15TH DECEMBER

GRI

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) receives Parliamentary Questions (PQs) on an ongoing basis from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  PQs are raised by members of Dáil Éireann and provide Ministers with the opportunity to report publicly on matters for which they are responsible.

RCÉ provides information to respond to these questions and, while all PQs and the response from the Minister are available publicly for view on the Oireachtas.ie website, we wish to share some of these recent PQs with the wider greyhound community. PQs relating to the greyhound industry for 15th December, are  listed below.

RCÉ would intend to continue to share responses to future PQs on Talking Dogs.

Question:

(Available to view on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/652/#pq_652)

Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of racing greyhound litters registered annually with an organisation (details supplied) between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Answer:

The Irish Coursing Club is the organisation charged by statute since 1923 with the role of Keeper of the Irish Stud Book. The stud book records pedigrees, ownerships, breeding data and transfers of ownership primarily. The Irish Coursing Club is subject to the general control and direction of Rásaíocht Con Éireann.

Data provided by the Irish Coursing Club indicate the following data in respect of litters from 2010 – to end November 2020. Litters registered include all greyhounds, thereby incoporating greyhounds that will ultimately race.

Year

Litters

2010

3,003

2011

3,272

2012

2,980

2013

2,736

2014

2,801

2015

2,709

2016

2,520

2017

2,441

2018

2,344

2019

2,324

 

The number of litters registered in the period 1 January 2020 to 30 November 2020 is 1,852.

 

Question:

(Available on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/653/#pq_653)

Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of racing greyhound pups registered annually for racing with an organisation (details supplied) between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Answer:

The Irish Coursing Club is the organisation charged by statute since 1923 with the role of Keeper of the Irish Stud Book. The stud book records pedigrees, ownerships, breeding data and transfers of ownership primarily.

The Irish Coursing Club is subject to the general control and direction of Rásaíocht Con Éireann. Greyhounds are required to be named with the Club and the table below sets out details of greyhounds named over the period 2010 – 2019.

It should be noted that the number of greyhounds named includes all greyhounds. Greyhounds that go on to be racing greyhounds comprise an element of the overall namings notified to the Irish Coursing Club.

Year

Namings

2010

16,467

2011

15,908

2012

16,224

2013

15,575

2014

14,898

2015

15,388

2016

13,987

2017

13,649

2018

13,327

2019

12,793

The number of named greyhounds in the period 1 January 2020 to 30 November 2020 is 12,443.

 

Question:

(Available on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/654/#pq_654)

Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of racing greyhounds microchipped annually between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Answer:

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. RCÉ is not authorised to microchip greyhounds.

 

The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) has been the keeper for the Irish Greyhound Stud Book since 1923.

 

Microchipping for dogs commenced on 1st September 2015 and MicrodogID and other authorised parties hold information on more than one breed.

Year

Namings

2010

16,467

2011

15,908

2012

16,224

2013

15,575

2014

14,898

2015

15,388

2016

13,987

2017

13,649

2018

13,327

2019

12,793

The number of named greyhounds in the period 1st January 2020 to 30th November 2020 is 12,443.

 

Question:

(Available on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/655/#pq_655)

Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of greyhounds registered on the race management system annually between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Answer:

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Data relating the greyhound dog pool at final dog pool count at year end 2010 – 2020 is set out in the table below. RCÉ has informed my Department, that given the nature of the process, there is an element of fluidity in relation to such data as greyhounds enter, leave and re-enter the system and, therefore, it does not compile details of greyhounds registered on the Race Management System on an annual basis.

Year

Greyhound Dog Pool at Final Dog Pool Count at Year End

2010

5,675

2011

5,317

2012

4,681

2013

4,116

2014

4,134

2015

3,876

2016

4,008

2017

3,616

2018

3,642

2019

3,829

2020

4,850 (at 2nd December)

Question:

(Available on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/656/#pq_656)

Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if greyhound racing trainers who have been banned from racing greyhounds in other jurisdictions are permitted to train and race greyhounds in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Answer:

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

RCÉ operates under the Greyhound Racing Acts 1958 – 2019 and regulations made thereunder. In addition, the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 and the Animal Health and Welfare Act of 2013 also apply to greyhound racing. No transfer of sanctions is imposed by RCÉ from another racing jurisdiction within Irish greyhound racing. It is a matter for the appropriate regulatory authorities to assess the circumstances of any particular case, apply due process and deal with any issues arising as part of the statutory framework governing greyhound racing in Ireland.

RCÉ has informed my Department that it has undertaken such processes in recent years. Such actions have been challenged in the High Court and Court of Appeal but have been upheld by both courts.

 

Question:

(Available to view on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/657/#pq_657)

Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of recorded injuries and deaths of greyhounds that have occurred at greyhound racing stadiums and events organised by the Irish Greyhound Board between 1 January 2011 and 30 November 2020, in tabular form.

Answer:

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

The table attached sets out details of injuries and deaths relating to racing greyhounds for the period July 2014 to October 2020. This data is published by RCÉ on a periodic basis.

Table of Injuries (Click to view)

 

Question:

(Available to view on the Oireachtas website on

Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the forthcoming greyhound traceability system will record racing greyhounds from birth; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Answer:

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) has been the keeper for the Irish Greyhound Stud Book since 1923.

The registering of any greyhound currently lies with the ICC as the keepers of the Irish Stud Book. The function of the ICC is provided for in legislation and all greyhounds regardless of their future involvement in any activity must be registered by way of registration of the litter with the ICC.

RCÉ is mandated with the responsibility for greyhound racing and racing greyhounds. The traceability system being devised by RCÉ will track racing greyhounds from birth through key life stages up to retirement/rehoming. Where a greyhound is presented for racing, the greyhound will be tracked on the traceability system through all life stages including birth, microchipping, registration, racing career, changes of ownership/trainer, location, export, retirement and end of life.

RCÉ will receive a data feed from the ICC in relation to racing greyhounds that have been microchipped under the microchipping regulations. Microchipping of a greyhound is a mandatory requirement. This data feed will capture details of location, ownership, pedigree, sex and whelp date.

The welfare of racing greyhounds is a key priority of mine and funding to the sector is predicated on the highest animal welfare standards.

 

Question:

(Available to view on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/675/#pq_675)

Deputy Brian Leddin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he is taking to implement the programme for Government commitment to ensure that future funding of the greyhound sector from a fund (details supplied) be contingent on a guarantee of welfare standards being upheld on an annual basis; the specific welfare criteria which the sector will be required to meet; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Answer:

Rásaíocht Con Éireann is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

RCÉ, as a key pillar of its Strategic Plan 2018-2022, states it will "enhance animal welfare at the centre of our industry". RCÉ established a Care Fund in July 2019 dedicated to care and welfare programmes for the racing greyhound.

Measures taken to date as part of that programme include:

The opening of the first Care Centre in Thurles in July 2020 which will act as a half-way house between the end of a racing career and the placing of the greyhound in its ‘forever home’. The centre will allow greyhounds to be socialised and for interested parties to consider the fostering or adoption of a greyhound in such a setting.

The implementation of an extensive rehoming programme with 1470 greyhounds rehomed in 2020 to end of November with assistance from the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, an entity established by RCÉ.

The introduction of a financial incentive for all domestic rehomings to encourage further rehoming in Ireland.

The implementation of a Foster-to-Adopt Scheme.

The operation of an Injuries at Track Financial Support Scheme whereby funding is available to address injuries sustained to racing greyhounds.

The establishment of a confidential phone line/email through which any welfare issues can be reported on a 24/7 basis. All reports are fully investigated by RCÉ welfare staff.

The utilisation of the Exclusion Order process whereby a party can be excluded from a greyhound racing track.

The updating of the Code of Practice for the Care and Welfare of the Greyhound which has been the subject of a public consultation process. The Code is provided for under Section 6 of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011.

The continuing of a testing regime both at race events and through out of competition testing. The urine sampling regime has been expanded in 2020 to cover blood sampling (on a periodic basis). Work is also underway in terms of the necessary protocols to implement further enhancements of the testing regime through hair sampling.

RCÉ implemented a Covid-19 Care Payment Scheme during the period of suspension of racing activity from March to June 2020. Some €998,000 was paid under the scheme to ensure that the welfare needs of the racing greyhound were met during the period when racing activity was suspended.

In addition, my Department has imposed a range of conditions to the disbursal of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund, and as part of these conditions, RCÉ is obliged to commit 10% of the fund towards welfare and integrity measures. This includes measures in relation to regulation, testing, laboratory and other aspects of activity that will improve the welfare and integrity approach of RCÉ. Together, these measures will ensure that the three commitments on greyhound welfare in the Programme for Government will be met.

 

Question:

(Available to view on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/676/#pq_676)

Deputy Brian Leddin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which funding committed to investment in greyhound welfare and rehoming programmes was spent in 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Answer:

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

RCÉ operates and funds programmes in the area of regulation, integrity and care and welfare. Expenditure to end of November 2020 for care and welfare only (excluding staff and staff related costs) is set out in the table below:

Covid 19 Greyhound Care Payment Scheme

€993,928

Veterinary Services

€194,328

Fostering

€175,143

Care Centre (launched October 2020)

€20,968

International Transportation

€19,502

Greyhound Utility ambulances

€23,616

Greyhound Injury Support Scheme

€1,811

Improvements in veterinary facilities

€4,948

Contributions for private rehoming organisations

€31,817

Contributions to Irish Retired Greyhound Trust

€63,633

Contributions to Irish Retired Greyhound Trust from owners (via levy on owners' prizemoney contributions).

€63,633

Total

€1,593,327

There is further committed expenditure on care and welfare and additional expenditure to be incurred before year end.

 

Question:

(Available to view on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/677/#pq_677)

Deputy Brian Leddin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he will take to ensure the greyhound traceability system promised in the programme for Government is rapidly rolled out; his views on whether this system will account for all greyhounds born here each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Answer:

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) has been the keeper for the Irish Greyhound Stud Book since 1923.

The registering of any greyhound currently lies with the ICC as the keepers of the Irish Stud Book. The function of the ICC is provided for in legislation and all greyhounds regardless of their future involvement in any activity must be registered by way of registration of the litter with the ICC.

RCÉ is mandated with the responsibility for greyhound racing and racing greyhounds. The traceability system being devised by RCÉ will track racing greyhounds from birth through key life stages up to retirement/rehoming. Where a greyhound is presented for racing, the greyhound will be tracked on the traceability system through all life stages including birth, microchipping, registration, racing career, changes of ownership/trainer, location, export, retirement and end of life.

RCÉ will receive a data feed from the ICC in relation to racing greyhounds that have been microchipped under the microchipping regulations. Microchipping of a greyhound is a mandatory requirement. This data feed will capture details of location, ownership, pedigree, sex and whelp date.

 

Question:

(Available to view on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/678/#pq_678)

Answer:

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. There is considerable fluidity in relation to greyhounds entered for racing on RCÉ’S Race Management System. For example, greyhounds may not participate in racing for a period due to injury or sickness such as kennel cough etc. The number of greyhounds re-homed are set out in the attached table.

In addition, there are a substantial number of racing greyhounds exported to the UK to participate in greyhound racing there. During 2019, for example, 6,005 Irish bred greyhounds were registered with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.

In the absence of a detailed traceability system, it is not possible to identity the number of greyhounds that have ceased racing. Rehoming of greyhounds is undertaken on behalf of RCÉ through its entity, the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust.

Details of rehomings undertaken by the IRGT are set out in the table attached.

It should be noted that the rehoming information recorded by the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust does not include greyhound rehomings undertaken by private greyhound rehoming organisations who are not in receipt of financial or other assistance from the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, or the greyhound rehomings carried out by individual members of the greyhound community where IRGT assistance was not sought. The Irish Retired Greyhound Trust is open to engagement with all organisations who are involved in rehoming registered greyhounds in Ireland.

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020 (to date)

Greyhounds rehomed through the IRGT rehoming scheme

517

548

529

530

728

Greyhounds rehomed by Private Irish Greyhound Rehoming Organisations which receive financial assistance from the IRGT

374

389

492

444

799

Total number of greyhounds rehomed

891

937

1021

974

1527

(Information received from Organisations to date in 2020)

 

Question:

(Available to view on the Oireachtas website on https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2020-12-15/679/#pq_679)

Deputy Brian Leddin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of greyhound care centres funded following the issuing of a tender (details supplied); the location of these centres; the details of the ownership and management of these centres; the number of greyhounds being cared for at these centres; his views on the adequacy of the care provided at these centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Answer:

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

RCÉ undertook a procurement process through the e-tenders process in 2019 seeking expressions of interest for the provision of Care Centres. A total of 17 submissions were received and a contract was awarded to the submission ranked first in terms of overall assessment.

This contract came into effect in July 2020 and the centre located near Thurles, Co Tipperary is fully operational since October 2020. The centre can accommodate 18 greyhounds and operates as a half-way house between a greyhound ending its racing career and its forever home. Whilst in the centre, the dog is socialised so as to become familiar with a domestic environment, other animals etc. Greyhounds are rehomed from the centre to suitable forever homes.

RCÉ has regular engagement with the operator of the centre and is fully satisfied that the quality of care and overall facilities are of a high standard.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, RCÉ had entered into negotiations with the party ranked second following overall assessment. Contracts were not entered into at that point due to pandemic related restrictions. RCÉ intends to re-engage with this party with a view to entering into a contract for a second care centre.

In addition to Care Centres, RCÉ operates foster care arrangements with a number of parties to provide short-term care for greyhounds pending rehoming.