Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (966)

Cormac Devlin


966. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the business and economic case for providing the greyhound industry with €96 million in 2021; the employment levels in the sector; the projected returns to the Exchequer from income tax, universal social charge, VAT and the betting tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38012/20]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

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 proposed allocation to Rásaíocht Con Éireann from the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund for 2021 is €19.2m. RCÉ employs 125 full time and 112 Full time equivalents, a total of 237. The overall Betting Duty Receipts for 2019 was just over €95 million. An economic review by Jim Power estimated that in 2016, the industry supported 5,058 full-time and part-time jobs. In addition, there were 7,313 active greyhound owners. The number of people deriving economic benefit from the sector was estimated at 12,371.

The most recent assessment of economic impact was undertaken by Jim Power Economics in 2017. The report indicated that “the gross wage bill attributed to employment in the greyhound industry is estimated at €126.5M. PAYE/PRSI paid per annum is estimated at €12.7M. Net incomes generated in the industry are estimated at €113.8M. Based on a conservative income multiplier effect of 0.5 this would result in a total economic impact to the economy of €171M per annum in terms of additional spending"

The COVID-19 crisis poses particular challenges with catering, admissions and tote income virtually collapsing. The only current commercial income is from online wagering activity and media rights. RCÉ is also implementing an ambitious care and welfare programme across the industry.

At all levels of the current Government plan, Resilience and Recivery 2020-2021: Plan for living with Covid -19, racing behind closed doors is permitted but no level offers a commercially viable operation. The budget increase in the Horse & Greyhound Racing Fund allocation for 2021 of €2.4M assists in bridging the gap between expenditure and income.

The overall objective of the Fund is to continue to support the industry as a whole and progress the implementation of the Greyhound Racing Act 2019 including the delivery of the extensive care and welfare programme. The greyhound industry coninues to be an important industry supporting significant direct and indirect employment particularly in rural areas.