Thursday 18 September 2014

Circus sent packing by council

Published 08/05/2014 | 05:26

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Trapeze artist and horse presenter, Amanda Sandow posing outside the Circus Gerbola big top in Kanturk earlier this year; Galway City Council has voted to ban circuses which use live animals from performing on publicly-owned lands

NELLIE the Elephant was told to pack her bags after Mallow Town Council refused permission for the circus to set up in the town over the bank-holiday weekend.

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Circus Gerbola had been due to set down in the park last Friday.

However, the previous Monday they were told this would not be possible due "health and safety" concerns.

Michael Gerbola, who runs the circus along with his wife Tara, were, needless to say, not too impressed with the decision.

Speaking to The Corkman, Michael said the circus had initially been granted permission to set up in the park by the local authority. "It had rained over the weekend and on the Monday we were told the ground was too soft and that we would be unable to set up there," said Michael.

"Tara drove to the site to inspect it for herself and she felt it was rock hard and in very good condition. We subsequently contacted an official at Mallow Town Council, who would not give us a reason for the refusal except to say it was for health and safety reasons and their decision was final," he added.

Michael said the circus had previously visited Mallow three-years ago and there had been no problem.

Michael accused the town council official of being unreasonable and "deliberately obstinate" over the issue.

"If, as the official said, the decision was taken for health and safety reasons, surely the whole park should have been closed to the public," said Michael.

"Our equipment is not heavy. In fact we recently set up on a playing pitch in Millstreet and caused no damage to its surface.

"As far as we can see there was no valid reason why we were not allowed to set up in Mallow. The people of the town wanted us there and they were left disappointed," he added.

Michael said the decision was likely to have cost the circus thousands of euro in revenue. "The overheads involved in running a circus are huge. We had to rearrange our plans and have lost up to a week's wages because of what happened in Mallow," he added.

An official with Mallow Town Council said the circus had booked the park but only on condition that the round would be fit for use. "Unfortunately, it was not in a condition to host the circus as the ground was too soft," he said.


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