by Alan Jacques
PEOPLE in Garryowen say they’ve had to endure upsetting scenes of horses being left to die in their neighbourhood after their owners have “ridden them into the ground”.
One man called the Limerick Post last Thursday to report that a starving horse had been left tied up on a green area. Incidents of animal cruelty, he claimed, were everyday occurrences in Garryowen.
“This horse was tied up near a pylon on the green and just left to die. The crows have already started pecking at the poor animal. People in Garryowen are very upset,” he said.
“Horses are ridden into the ground up here on a regular basis, especially in the warm weather. These fellas don’t care about the animals. Once they are finished with them, they just leave them to rot. It’s very cruel and the guards and the council aren’t doing anything about it,” he claimed.
When contacted, a spokeswoman for Limerick City and County Council explained, “This was reported to us this morning. The Gardai were out there this morning and ACS, the group contracted by the Council to seize stray horses, are on their way to the area today so hopefully the situation will be dealt with before the day is out.”
The Council later confirmed that the animal was removed later that day.
However, Sinn Féin representative for City East, comhairleoir Séighin Ó Ceallaigh insists that the city’s horse issue is now a major problem.
“We will continue to hear stories like this until the issue is resolved. Having spoken to various communities, including people in Garryowen and Southill, it is clear that local residents are fed up with the horse problem in the city,” said Cmhlr Ó Ceallaigh.
With the council currently spending more than €600,000 a year on seizing horses, he believes this money could be spent on numerous measures that would benefit all of Limerick.
“A solution needs to be found so that local residents and road users are not under threat from roaming horses, and of course the welfare of these animals is also a priority. It is sad to see the mistreatment of any animal, and the local authority will have to come up with some solution to it”, he said.
Limerick TD Willie O’Dea told the Limerick Post that he will be pushing for Fianna Fáil to have a very strong anti-cruelty animal welfare policy.
“This wanton cruelty towards helpless animals says a lot about the mentality of the people who do this,” said Deputy O’Dea.