HORSES recently seized by Limerick City Council could be saved from destruction thanks to a landmark court ruling.
After horses are seized, the local authority asks owners to pay an impound fee of €1,000 - or face having the animal put down.
But a High Court judgement, which was handed down last week, found that the non-payment of fees upfront in a lump sum does not give the council the power to hold onto horses and destroy the animals if other conditions relating to licensing, a willingness to take back the horse, and pay fees incurred by the pound, are met.
Solicitors letters referring to the judgement have been sent to the council in respect of three horses which were seized in Moyross almost two weeks ago.
Violence broke out last week after 13 horses were seized on one night. Since then, two of the 13 horses have been returned, after agreements were reached, with parish priest Fr Tony O’Riordan stepping in to negotiate on behalf of the residents.
Existing bye-laws prohibit the keeping of horses in the city boundary without a licence - but these are very rarely given out, which many residents feel is unfair.
Cllr Maurice Quinlivan, a member of the environment committee, wants to see provision made for those who wish to care for their horses.
“There are a small number of people with horses who I think should be accommodated. Having said that, there should be no ambiguity here: horses have no places in an estate,” he said.
He condemned the violence, which led to a protest outside the local regeneration office, and called on anyone who has any information on the incident to contact the gardai.
Local shopkeeper Pat O’Halloran, called on residents to “stand back, and consider the damage that was done” following the violence.
“There needs to be an ongoing effort between City Council, County Council and the animal rescue department to find a resolution and a common ground on this issue,” he added,
“All the people want is somewhere where they can raise their horses.”