Calls to 'speed up' horse project in Limerick


Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

THERE have been calls this week to accelerate a proposed horse project on the southside after nine horses were seized from Southill.

Anna Gallagher, Kennedy Park, who is part of the Horse Education Limerick Project Southside (Helps), believes Barry’s Field, where the seizures took place on Thursday last, would be a perfect site for the scheme, which would allow horse owners to freely graze their horses on condition they are looked after properly.

She said she has sought talks with council official Seamus Hanrahan to get the project moving, but has yet to secure a meeting time.

“They seem to be slow to want to enter into talks with us. And horse owners are losing out as a result,” she said, “If we could fence the land, have a pathway on the inside and have a rundown the back end and into Barry’s Field, you would not see the horses out. And there would not be seizures here.”

The horses seized were aged between two and three years, and also included a midget grey pony.

Anna, a volunteer with the Limerick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LSPCA) added: “We want to start working on a pen, we want to start putting in temporary shelters this winter.”

Under local authority bye-laws, grazing horses in the city limits is illegal without a licence – and these are very rarely, if ever, given out by the council.

Despite this, Anna claimed an informal agreement is in place between Southill residents, and the authorities to allow horses to graze.

This is why Barry’s Field – behind Southill House – was identified as a potential site for a horse project.

“The horse owners are feeling very bad at the moment. Some are from the Travelling community, some are from the settled community. These horses, you can see by the pictures, are in good condition. I check them myself on a regular basis, and the ISPCA keeps an eye on them. It is a big field. There are good fieldmen there, there is plenty of shelter, and the boys do make sure they are kept in,” she told the Limerick Leader.

Also last Thursday, a single horse was seized in Delmege Park in Moyross.

On the previous day, there were single horse seizures at the Old Cratloe Road and in Castleconnell.

A group of ten people, including representatives of Limerick Animal Welfare, are behind plans to develop a horse project.

It is hoped this will bring a secure area for horses along the same lines as schemes in Fettercairn and Cherry Orchard in Dublin. Back in 2008, the then Defence Minister Willie O’Dea pulled the plug on a planned horse project on his department’s land in Knockalisheen following opposition from Meelick.