Ahern lauds Dundalk track
Ireland's Prime Minister Bertie Ahern officially cut the first sod for the new floodlit all-weather racetrack at Dundalk yesterday.
Commenting on the new development Ahern said: "This is Ireland's first all-weather racetrack and will be open next August.
"Horseracing and greyhound racing are significant contributors to the Irish economy and to our way of life.
"They are also two sports in which Ireland can genuinely claim world champion status.
"In addition horseracing has a significant cross border dimension which I obviously welcome and the location of the all-weather track at Dundalk is all the more appropriate."
Dundalk stadium has been allocated 12 fixtures for 2007 - the first evening meeting comes a month after the opening meeting on Thursday September 27. There will then be two runs of five consecutive Friday evening meetings - from September 28 to October 26 and from November 9 to December 7.
In 2008 the number of race meetings will increase to a minimum of 25, making the track the busiest in the country.
Jim Martin, Dundalk chief executive, said: "We are eagerly looking forward to next August. Attendances have surpassed all expectations since the stadium was reopened in November 2003 for greyhound racing.
"There will be even more reason to have Dundalk at the fulcrum of the sport when horseracing takes off.
"The beauty of the all-weather track is that we'll be able to stage meetings without any cancellations."