Wednesday 16 August 2017

Mayor in plea to scrap Smithfield horse fair

Dublin Lord Mayor Gerry Breen has written to three government ministers urging them to bring forward new laws scrapping the controversial horse fair at Smithfield.

Two men were shot and a third injured with a slash hook during the inner-city Dublin fair earlier this month.

In his letter to Justice Minister Alan Shatter, Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, Mr Breen said there were a number of equestrian venues around the country that function perfectly well.

"On behalf of the people of Dublin I ask that you enact legislation so that the horse fair at Smithfield may be extinguished," Mr Breen said.

One man has been charged with possession of a gun in connection with the violence at the fair on March 6.

A safety assessment of the fair published in May 2009 by health and safety experts Eamon O'Boyle and Associates on behalf of Dublin City Council revealed significant risks, with virtually all due to the unsuitability of the venue.

"There are a number of equestrian facilities around the country that function perfectly well because they are properly designed and managed but the location at Smithfield is clearly an unsuitable venue for a horse fair," Mr Breen said.

Dublin City Council cannot extinguish the market right to the fair because it belongs to the horse traders and the local authority has no involvement in the event.

"Given the unsuitability of the location at Smithfield for the horse fair and the dangers it presents to persons and property, I am asking you to enact primary legislation to extinguish this market right," Mr Breen wrote.



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