Protest over circus animals planned
As the Il Florilegio Circus animals were being transported to Dublin Port from the Netherlands last night the Alliance for Animal Rights was preparing for a quayside protest against their importation.
The circus was granted permission to stage shows at Booterstown, Co Dublin, on Monday night, by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, despite allegations of cruelty to animals made by the alliance.
Representatives of the Department of the Arts, Gaeltacht, Heritage and the Islands were also expected to meet the vessel, as were representatives of the Department of Agriculture and Customs and Excise and immigration officers.
According to the alliance a large turn-out would be there to demonstrate the State's determination that no cruelty to animals should take place.
A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture explained that a team of vets would examine the animals to ensure that they were in keeping with the terms of an importation licence granted by the Department of Arts, Gaeltacht, Heritage and the Islands.
However, the Garda Press Office said immigration and Customs officers would be inspecting the papers of "anybody who gets off a vessel in the port, as is normal procedure".
For its part the alliance said it was preparing a candle-lit vigil to meet the ship when it docked shortly before midnight. It said it was a disgrace that the circus was allowed to occupy the Booterstown site in Dublin for six weeks and had the full approval of Ms de Valera and the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Walsh, to enter the country.
The alliance claimed that most animals are in chains, separated from their family members for most of their lives and "depressed". The site at Booterstown will be home for 50-plus animals for six weeks with no room for properly exercising the animals, the alliance claims.