Greyhound Board chief Neilan to quit

The chief executive of the Irish Greyhound Board, Adrian Neilan, is to leave his job next week.

The announcement comes just three 16 days after Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney got permission to break public appointment rules in order to grant Mr Neilan a two-year contract extension.

Mr Neilan, who became chief executive of the IGB in 2007, has recently been in the spotlight due to a series of controversies surrounding the semi-state's financial sustainability and decisions taken during the construction of the new Limerick greyhound track.

In November he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee and at present the company is in the process of preparing detailed responses that were sought by TDs following the hearing.

An IGB spokesman said Mr Neilan had decided not to take up the offer of a new contract from January 1.

"Adrian Neilan hasn’t resigned and will be seeing out his term of office as chief executive of IGB.

"He is declining the offer a new contract with IGB and will be pursuing another role in the New Year," he said.

Earlier this month Minister Coveney was given permission by Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin to break the rules which prevent a sitting semi-state CEOs from getting a contract extension.

Mr Coveney looked for special sanction for Mr Neilan on the recommendation of the IGB chairman, Phil Meaney.

The new contract would have involved Mr Neilan accepting a cut to his €160,000 annual salary and a requirement to have his replacement appointed by July 2015.

In August Mr Neilan told the Irish Times he would like to remain in office after 2013 if the Minister allowed it.

“I think we’re on the cusp of a great opportunity and it would be very exciting to be around to see it through over the next couple of years," he said.

He could not be reached for comment.

By Conor Ryan, Irish Examiner Investigative Correspondent

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