Greyhound Board to address public spending waste


REPRESENTATIVES from Bord na gCon will appear before the Committee of Public Accounts this Thursday to discuss mismanagement of public expenditure in relation to the purchase of lands for Limerick Greyhound Stadium.

The meeting will also consider the knock-on impact of the cost overruns of the project on the financial position of the commercial state body, which is responsible for the promotion and regulation of greyhound racing in Ireland.

Special Report No 86 – Development of Limerick Greyhound Racing Stadium by the Comptroller and Auditor General will provide the basis for the discussions. The Special Report raises a number of concerns in relation to risk, financial and project management processes in relation to the €21 million project.

Representatives from Bord na gCon in attendance tomorrow include:
•    Phil Meaney – Chairman
•    Geraldine Larkin – Chief Executive Officer
•    Michael Murnane – Chief Financial Officer
•    Colm Walsh – Director of Commercial Operations
•    Hilary Forde – Director of Racing Governance & Compliance

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Key Officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will also address the Committee, including Assistant Secretary General Brendan Gleeson, Deputy Chief Inspector Dermot A Ryan and Assistant Principal Emer McGeogh. The Department commissioned an independent review of the greyhound industry, which was published in July.

Committee Chairman John McGuinness TD says: “The development of Limerick Greyhound Racing Stadium led to significant costs being incurred by Bord na gCon that could have been avoided if adequate risk, financial and project management processes had been in place during the development process. At Thursday’s meeting the PAC will wish to explore how €1.6 million of the €1.75 million paid for the Meelick site has been written off, primarily due to access issues that had been foreseen  by a consultant’s report prior to the purchase.

“A further €1.4 million in costs has been incurred by Bord na gCon in relation to site filling at the Greenpark site, which was originally to be provided by the vendor at no cost to Bord na gCon. The Committee will wish to examine how responsibility in relation to filling the Greenpark site shifted from the vendor to Bord na gCon. The Committee will also seek answers on why to the Bord agreed to contribute €1.17 million for a car park on the Greenpark site that they weren’t going to own.

“The impact of this mismanagement of Limerick Stadium has led to a doubling of Bord na gCon borrowings, which amounted to some €22.8 million at the end of 2012. Repayments on these loans are currently on an interest only basis until 2016. The Committee will  seek assurances on the ability of the company to repay its debts. We will also explore progress in the sale of Bord na gCon assets to bring these worrying debt levels down.”

The meeting takes place tomorrow 27 November in Committee Room 1, LH 2000 at 10 am.

Public proceedings can be viewed online here: