A greyhound stadium in Co Antrim has closed with immediate effect.

Drumbo Park in Lisburn employed 44 full-time and part-time members of staff.

In a statement on Friday, Drumbo Park directors blamed a “number of factors” including Northern Ireland’s licensing laws and a lack of government funding for the 10-year-old business going under.

“This has included: a shortage of greyhounds to provide a full race programme, the impact of online gaming on live racing and Northern Ireland’s restrictive licensing laws preventing the sale of alcohol at the track on a Sunday,” they said.

“In addition, unlike the greyhound racetracks in the Republic of Ireland, Drumbo Park received no government funding.

“The 14 full-time and 30 part-time staff were informed on Friday morning.

“The directors would like to thank the staff, customers and dog owners for their support and dedication over the past decade.”

Local Alliance Party MLA Trevor Lunn expressed disappointment at the closure of Drumbo Park.

He described it as a “wake-up call” to those opposed to liberalising Northern Ireland’s licensing laws.

“There is no doubt this will have an impact on the local economy and my thoughts are with the 44 members of staff who are now out of a job,” Mr Lunn said.

“Alliance has long been vocal in the campaign to have our licensing laws liberalised, advocating a more common sense approach to the issue.

“It is a long-overdue step forward Northern Ireland needs to take and in light of this development, it should be a wake-up call for those opposed to reform.

“It is especially disappointing given a bill leading to changes in the law was moving through the Assembly before the collapse of devolution.”