Brandywell development to press on - but greyhound racers hold placards in public gallery

An artist's impression of the new Brandywell Stadium with the newlook Brandywell Showgrounds  in the background, the new greyhound track surrounding the Showgrounds pitch.
An artist's impression of the new Brandywell Stadium with the newlook Brandywell Showgrounds in the background, the new greyhound track surrounding the Showgrounds pitch.

Supporters of greyhound racing in Derry held placards at a special meeting of the local council this afternoon stating ‘Save Our Dog Track.’

The public gallery was packed to capacity as members of Derry and Strabane council met to discuss the future of greyhound racing at the stadium.

Several members of the public stood with placards - one stating ‘80 Years of Culture and Heritage Destroyed.’

Following a lengthy debate councillors voted for Option 3, to proceed to tender for the entire scheme of the redevelopment, proposed by Paul Fleming.

An amendment to the proposal by Councillor Paul Gallagher that the council only proceed to tender and sort out the finer detail later was defeated.

A public advertisement is now to be put out for providers to run the greyhound track.

This means that in future greyhound racing which will take place on a track around the showgrounds can take place seven days a week and any greyhound operator can pay £55 per hour for the hire of the facility.

An estimated £750,000 is required to purchase and construct the new track around a pitch in the show grounds. However there are concerns that rental charges proposed will not offer value for money in terms of council recouping their investment.

Daniel McLaughlin from the local greyhound racing company said they had repeatedly asked for clarity on what option 3 was but had not received any clarity.

“We wanted council to proceed to tender and work on the details later.

“When we agreed to move it was that on the basis that the new track would be 90% complete when we leave but we still have no clarity on that.”

A steering group is now to be set up to meet monthly to keep lines of communication open.

More in Tuesday’s Journal