Over 80 horses seized in major round up operation in Cork
Representative of Traveller community criticises move, saying more conciliatory approach should have been adopted
Minister Simon Coveney: ongoing concerns in relation to the sector. Photograph: Inpho/Dan Sheridan
More than 80 horses were rounded up yesterday in Cork by gardaí and officials from the Department of Agriculture in a day-long operation involving over 60 personnel as part of an animal welfare initiative.
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said there had been ongoing concerns in relation to the horse sector over the past 12 months arising from over-production of animals and the presence of unidentified horses on both public and private lands.
Mr Coveney said there had been particular problems with horses in Gurranebraher, Hollyhill, Knocknaheeny and Nash’s Boreen on Cork’s north side, with dead horses found on sites and stray horses on public roads.
Sixty gardaí from Gurranebraher, Togher, Blarney, Ballincollig and Mayfield, Department of Agriculture officials and staff from Cork City Council spent more than 10 hours yesterday, from 6am, seizing the horses, which were grazing illegally on land owned by both Nama and the local authority.
Gardaí and department officials, backed up by members of the Regional Support Unit, seized 85 horses across four sites. They also recovered carcasses and skeletal remains at each of the four sites.
The approach was criticised by Chrissie O’Sullivan of the Cork Travellers Visibility Support Group, who told the Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s 96FM that a more conciliatory method should have been adopted.
“Unfortunately it’s a very adversarial approach to the problem . . . there are better ways of doing things. They could have sat down and talked about this with the families and we could have had a lead-in time. The families that are genuinely looking after their animals are being punished as well.”
More than 3,000 horses have been seized so far this year.