LIMERICK City and County Council should not have to carry the bulk of the cost of horse control in the city and county, Sinn Fein’s Cllr Séighin Ó'Ceallaigh argued at a recent council meeting.
“At present the Department of Agriculture only covers one third of the cost of horse control in Limerick, which costs around €500,000 every year,” he said. The department, he argued, should fully reimburse the council.
“The horse problem is a department problem, which has been left with the council to deal with at our expense. Like some government ministers, such as Shane Ross, Minister Michael Creed, and previous ministers, have washed their hands of this problem and need to finally accept responsibility, and this is long overdue,” he said.
“If any horse owner, or cow owner or sheep owner etc. left their animals roam freely through our city, or towns, or villages, or left them malnourished or left them tied to a road sign next to a busy road, the department would have them shut down that very day.
“The rules must apply to everyone equally, and the department must pay for the implementation of these rules.”
Ireland has a great reputation for its horse industry, the Sinn Fein councillor continued.
“It is a shame that the actions of few would tarnish the reputation of responsible horse owners who care for their animals.”
However, he felt that a horse project similar to the one in Tralee which he visited recently would work in Limerick.
“The situation in Tralee is completely different to the one here in Limerick.”
But he was adamant that the Horse Committee must continue to meet in an effort to find a solution for Limerick. “We need to discuss this complex issue thoroughly to ensure that taxpayers money isn’t wasted. In the meantime the Department of Agriculture must fully fund the horse control programme, to free up the much needed, and much stretched resources of this Council.”The practice of taking horses away to the pound only to have them returned days later had caused a huge amount of anger and backlash, Cllr Cian Prendiville, Solidarity, said.