Tipperary greyhound owner brings challenge against decision to withhold €36,500 prize money

Ann O'Loughlin

A Greyhound owner has asked the High Court to quash a decision which led to the withholding of €36,500 in race prize money after he was fined for the doping/contamination of three of his dogs.

Owen McKenna, from New Inn, Cashel, Co Tipperary, claims findings of an Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) control committee, which were later upheld by an appeal board, were made in breach of fair procedures, arbitrary and based on errors of fact, among other things.

In February 2017, an IGB control committee imposed five fines totalling €1,000 on Mr McKenna in relation to the dogs "Farloe Rumble", "Offshore Bound" and "Farloe Blitz" which had run at Shelbourne Park on September 5, 2015. It also decided the prize money of €36,500 would be forfeited.

Mr McKenna lodged an appeal and year ago an appeal committee upheld a finding in relation to a substance, Hydrochlorothiazide, which could affect greyhound performance and as there are no threshold levels for this prohibited substance.

It also found Mr McKenna engaged in a reckless feeding regime for which he must accept the consequences. His appeal was dismissed, the fines upheld and the forfeiture of the prize money affirmed.

Mr McKenna brought High Court judicial review proceedings which Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan began hearing today.

He seeks orders quashing the appeal committee findings and says they are serious sanctions which affect his right to earn a livelihood and his right to a good reputation and amounts to an unlawful discrimination against him in relation to other owners.

He claims he was not afforded fair procedures and there was a failure in the chain of evidence in that the samples taken from the dogs which were sent for analysis to the UK for three months.

There was also a failure to give reasons as to why the feeding regime was other than normal.

He also says the IGB had changed its feeding policy in November 2015 and retrospectively applied this new regime to September that year when the dogs raced. There was no breach under the previous regulations, it is claimed.

The IGB opposes the application and the case continues.

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