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Holly and Chris at odds over greyhound cash

December 9th, 2020 10:05 PM

By Siobhan Cronin

The greyhound industry has been debated at length in the Dáil and this week Deputy Holly Cairns, criticised the planned allocation of €19m to the industry, while the funding was supported by her partner and constituency colleague, Christopher O’Sullivan

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TWO West Cork TDs are at odds over their stance on the controversial €19m funding announced for the greyhound industry in Ireland.

Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns has criticised what she described this week as money ‘for a loss-making industry that kills 6,000 dogs a year’.

Her party has been very vocal in the Dáil in its opposition to the funding allocation, and how it was agreed.

But this week, Deputy Cairns’ partner and constituency colleague FF TD Christopher O’Sullivan said he supported the €19m allocation for the industry, saying it would lead to ‘better welfare outcomes for the animals and secure jobs’.

Meanwhile, Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey was forced into an embarrassing climbdown after ‘liking’ a tweet which called Deputy Cairns ‘an ignorant little girl’.

‘I liked a tweet that was disrespectful to one of my fellow TDs. I should not have done so. It was wrong and I offer my sincere apologises to Holly Cairns,’ said Deputy Carey.

He had ‘liked’ a tweet from Wayne McCarthy which said: ‘The public really need to get the full facts before deciding based on waffle from an ignorant little girl in a minority party that scraped through the 55th count and lazy journos loving the sensationalism of it all.’

Wayne McCarthy is a member of Greyhound Racing Ireland.

He later apologised, saying he regretted the comments: ‘In the course of that tweet I allowed by (sic) frustration with an inaccurate picture being portrayed of the greyhound industry to boil over reflecting my my (sic) passion and interest in the greyhound industry.’

Deputy Cairns said she accepted his apology but added that women in Ireland ‘have got used to these sort of gendered comments’.

She also invited him to debate the greyhound funding issue with her in pubic.

Earlier she commented: ‘How is this your defence for €19.2m for a loss-making industry that kills 6,000 dogs a year; how is that what we’re talking about, you know, saying that I am a stupid little girl, or whatever? I think it’s because they have nowhere else to go.’

This week Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan called for ‘calm heads to prevail on the future of the greyhound industry.’

‘For as long as I can remember the greyhound owners I’ve known are people who look after their greyhounds, walk them two or three times a day and are a familiar sight in my constituency,’ he said.

‘I’ve only ever thought that these people were dog lovers who gave care and attention to their animals. A narrative is forming that doesn’t reflect the broad reality, and it’s tarring all owners with the same brush. That isn’t fair and it needs to be addressed.’

‘Outright and abruptly defunding the industry isn’t the right thing to do,’ Deputy O’Sullivan said.

‘Like everybody, I think there needs to be industry controls to ensure that dogs who don’t make the grade are found homes.’

This week it was reported that a Cork greyhound which was recorded as having been ‘rehomed’ as a pet in Co Tipperary had, in fact, taken part in greyhound coursing trials in Pakistan.

A second dog, originally from Clonakilty, had also been exported to Pakistan.

• Deputy Cairns spoke at length about sexism in politics, and her experiences while a councillor with Cork County Council during a June ediiton of the Southern Star Coronavirus Podcast, which is still available online at www.southernstar.ie

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