Greyhound racing followers in the north-west were shocked today to learn that Drumbo Greyhound Stadium, near Lisburn, is to close with immediate effect.
In a statement issued the directors stated that “the business was no longer sustainable”.
Thirty full-time and 14 part-time staff will lose their jobs.
The directors blame the shortage of greyhounds, the impact of online gambling and Northern Ireland’s “restrictive” licensing laws.
They also pointed out that unlike the greyhound tracks in the Republic of Ireland, Drumbo Park received no Government funding.
The closure will be greeted with dismay in Derry and Donegal as well.
Many greyhound owners, trainers and followers from the north-west have attended meetings at the Lisburn venue.
The stadium, which was formerly known as Ballyskeagh, was taken over in 2008 by businessmen John McCollum, Michael McAdam and Tommy Anderson.
In the statement, released by the directors, they said that they had "invested substantial resources" in an effort to turn the business around, but they now maintain that it is no longer viable.
The Drumbo Park website now has the following image (below) on its website home page.
Donegal has one greyhound stadium, in Lifford. It is currently on the market for sale and is subject to a major review - along with 15 other stadia in the Republic, by a firm of consultants.
At the peak of the boom, Lifford had racing three nights a week. It currently only has racing on Saturdays.
In Derry, a new Brandywell track was opened last year. Racing takes place on Monday nights.
The Irish Greyhound Board has licensed a total of seventeen tracks in the Republic, of which nine are owned and controlled by the Board. The remainder (including Lifford) are owned and operated by private enterprise.
The Irish Greyhound Board, is a semi-state body in the Republic, and does not have any control or investment in the Northern tracks in Derry or Lisburn.
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