THE first Smithfield Horse Fair held under stiff new regulations has been described as a "promising start".
New by-laws were passed by Dublin City Council after widespread criticism of the fair, which had been hit by violence, antisocial activity and concerns about animal welfare. Councillor Gerry Breen said the first fair under the regulations had gotten off to a good start.
The fair, previously held on the first Sunday of every month, is now only staged in March and September. All horse owners are required to hold a casual trading licence, provide a PPS number and pay a €10 fee per horse.
A committee – consisting the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA), horse owners and councillors – has been formed to promote the fair as a tourist attraction.
"I was delighted that at any time there were about 1,000 attendees at the fair and there was great interest in the farrier, traditional music, art features and some of the carriages," Mr Breen said.
The council previously sought to close the fair after an incident in 2011 when two men were shot. Other problems included an injured horse trading hands to an 11-year-old boy for €8.