Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, joined local dog racing enthusiasts on Thursday night for the unveiling of the new dog racing track at the Brandywell Stadium.
Members of the Brandywell Greyhound Racing Company carried out time trials on the new standalone track, which is part of the £7m development of a state of the art new stadium for the City and District, funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council in conjunction with the Executive Office.
Speaking after the trials, Mayor McHugh said he was delighted at the response from the local greyhound racing fraternity.
“This was a great opportunity to see the new facility in operation and I had the chance to speak personally with members of the Brandywell Greyhound Racing Company," said Mayor McHugh, "I must say the response was extremely positive regarding the condition of the track and the newly refurbished amenities available.
“This is an extremely significant strategic capital development project for Council, and it’s most important that users are happy with the end result. I think we saw that here tonight and I really look forward to seeing the reaction of local football fans when the first match is played on the new Brandywell pitch.”
Speaking on behalf of the Brandywell Greyhound Racing Company, Daniel McLaughlin thanked Council for their commitment to the project, and for bringing greyhound racing into the 21st century.
“There was a real air of excitement when the track opened its doors for the first time on the 9th February to the racing public,” he said. “It was their first chance to put the new track under scrutiny. The feedback was above all expectation, with owners, breeders and trainers alike giving their seal of approval on the greyhound facilities.
“We, the McLaughlin family, would like to take this opportunity to thank Derry City and Strabane District council for helping bring greyhound racing within the city into the 21st century and securing the sport’s future for many more generations to come.”
Work is ongoing on the final stages of the completion of the Stadium, which is a major highlight of the capital development programme for the development of leisure facilities across Derry and Strabane.