Horse going down well in Dublin city centre
Horse steak baguettes are popular now at Paddy Jack's stall in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin, said Pat Hyland, who has been selling the meat from his stall for the past four years. "People are very interested in trying it, and they're liking it. It's a very good meat," he said. photograph: dara mac dónaill
Pat Hyland has sold more horse meat in the past three weeks than over the four years he has been offering it. He fears, however, that a clampdown on its production may mean he will not be able to supply it beyond the next fortnight.
The Co Laois man has been selling meat at the Temple Bar farmers’ market in Dublin for 18 years. In 2008 he added the rich, gamey-flavoured horse meat to his range after tasting it in Italy. “Lamb would be our main business but the horse has definitely taken over in the last three weeks. People are very interested in trying it, and they’re liking it. It’s a very good meat.”
He sells horse steak sandwiches in big baguettes for €6.50, skewers of marinated meat for €2.50 each or three for €6 and fillet steaks for €15 a kilo. A kebab on Saturday was delicious, quite rich with a slight liver-like flavour and very tender. When compared with beef prices of about €35 a kilo, it is also very cheap.
“This is a good market to sell it because there would be a lot of European people here. . . The level of regulation has always been ridiculous but with horse now it’s even worse.”
He says that a month ago there were five abattoirs in the State slaughtering horses for meat, now there are two. Once a horse is slaughtered, it is almost impossible to get a butcher to cut up the carcase. “No one wants to touch it.”
He has his own horses and he says that, in compliance with regulations, they are microchipped and have passports.
“I have enough horse meat to last until mid-March. I don’t know what I’ll do after that if I can’t get a butcher to handle it. I am worried. There could be a healthy market for horse meat in this country if it was marketed properly. It tastes good, it’s healthy and good value, and there are good people in the meat industry who would like to deal with it.”