Boss of indebted greyhound sector is a 'model chief'
on 08/09/2012 00:00:00
His comments come as it emerged that the new track in Limerick has lost more than €30,000 a month already this year.
The junior minister said the Department of Agriculture was satisfied that the problems that blighted the construction of Limerick's track had been dealt with by the IGB. "If half the CEOs were half as good as Adrian Neilan we would be a lot better off. He has the greyhound industry in his blood and business in his heart."
Internal figures show the Limerick track lost €250,000 up until the end of August, and stands to lose €300,000 by the end of the year. This does not include money needed to pay down debts associated with its development. These are on an interest-only basis until 2016.
In the final three years of Limerick's old Market's Field, the track's average annual loss was €213,000.
The original projections presented to the board by Mr Neilan in 2009 predic-ted the new facility would deliver a profit in excess of €800,000 this year.
The IGB said it would not comment specifically on Limerick but that the combined revenues for all tracks in 2012 would "show a healthy surplus at the end of 2012 despite the ongoing difficult economic climate".
Mr McEntee said it was a difficult environment for every business and weather had a big impact on this year's performance.
He said the board and the CEO had the full confidence of him and his department despite a recent spate of controversies.
"If everyone was as conscientious about their portfolio as Adrian Neilan the country would be better off," he said.
Mr Neilan has been in the spotlight after the release of a series of correspondence on the Limerick development.
These showed he had overruled the company's engineers and solicitors when they expressed concern about a gentleman's agreement the IGB had entered into to cover millions of euro worth of engineering work.
When this agreement collapsed, it heaped debt onto the IGB, which it has been struggling to repay.
Mr McEntee also said the Government would not countenance reducing the funding for the greyhound or horse racing industries as it would allow countries such as France to "come in and dismantle our industry".
Mr McEntee's comments came after a string of revelations on the level of crossover in the development of Limerick's track and the company who sold it the site.