LIMERICK City Council tops the table when it comes to the amount of money spent by local authorities in rounding up stray horses.
Over €550,000 was spent recapturing stray horses in the city over the last 18 months, according to figures published this week.
City and county councils around the country provided figures detailing an increase in the number of stray animals they have had to round up, with 409 horses having been impounded by Limerick City Council in the 18-month period.
While Dublin City Council rounded up 342 horses, more than twice the amount rounded up in Limerick, they spent less than half of what Limerick City Councils paid - at €250,582 - in the period concerned. Cork City Council impounded 123 horses at a cost of €23,911.
Caroline Curley, director of services in the council’s environment department, explained that: “the figure is inclusive of pound, veterinary, stable and chipping costs. It also includes mileage costs to pay the impounding contractors coming from Cork to seize the horses”.
Costs associated with rounding up horses are a matter of frequent debate at City Hall.
Revelations that 50 operations last year had cost €280,000 led to Cllr Maurice Quinlivan suggesting it would be cheaper to buy the animals.
“That is working out at €1400 per horse. Horses are selling in Moyross for €100 or €200 and it would be cheaper for us to buy them,” he said at a recent meeting of the environment committee.
“The horse economy, for want of a better word, has collapsed in the city and horses are now virtually worthless and being left on estates,” he said.
Cllr Kathleen Leddin said loose horses had been a problem in Limerick for as long as she could remember and Mick Lipper had made it the subject of his maiden Dail speech in 1977.