Department of Education set to acquire former greyhound stadium site

Richard Bruton says the site at Harold's Cross in Dublin will be used for 'additional school infrastructure'

BY Stephen McNeice 21:36 Tuesday 2 May 2017, 21:36 2 May 2017

File photo - Greyhounds racing at Harolds Cross dog track in south Dublin. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

The State is set to purchase the site of the former greyhound stadium at Harold's Cross in Dublin for 'additional school infrastructure'.

The stadium closed in February, with the Irish Greyhound Board (Bord na gCon) stating it was "absolutely essential in order to address the enormous debt IGB faces".

Education Minister Richard Bruton confirmed that the IGB had accepted his department's offer to purchase the site "subject to the standard approvals required".

The land will need to be rezoned to allow for any new school facilities. 

Minister Bruton said: "The Department of Education and Skills is currently engaged in a review of demographics which will determine the extent of new school provision required nationwide.

"The exact configuration of schools to be provided on the Harold’s Cross site will be informed by the outcome of this demographic review."

The IGB, meanwhile, said the the sale 'makes commercial and operational sense'.

Phil Meaney, Chairman of the IGB, explained: "The Board is well aware of the place that Harold’s Cross had amongst the greyhound community, particularly in Dublin.

"However I believe the sale will be of huge benefit to the industry as a whole. This will allow us for the first time in many years, a capacity to invest in the many areas that require support and attention."

However, concerns about the sale have been raised by Labour TD Alan Kelly.

In a statement this evening, Deputy Kelly argued: "The Board could have pursued a sale of a portion of the site and still kept the stadium open [...] The stakeholders in the industry - those who race dogs - have decried their destructive management of the stadiums in Dublin."

He added: "It's incredible that a state body has sold such an important site and recreational amenity without a full public tender."

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