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Tight security for horse fair after gun terror

A massive security operation has swung into action ahead of tomorrow's horse fair in Smithfield after last year's event was rocked by shooting and violence.

The March fair is always the biggest one in the horse trading calendar, and gardai, Revenue, Dublin City Council and the Department of Social Welfare are all working to ensure this year's event will be a legitimate -- and peaceful -- one.

At last year's event scores of horses bolted as shots rang through the air and one man nearly had an arm severed in a slash-hook attack that left him bleeding profusely.

Scared children were separated from their parents as bedlam spread through the Smithfield area in the north inner city.

But today barriers have been placed around structures in the area to prevent damage, and gardai have created holding areas and closed certain streets to everyone but residents.

"It will be a different affair compared to last year," said Independent councillor Christy Burke.

"There will be holding areas where horses will be checked for electronic chips and passports, and Revenue and the social welfare will be carrying out checks as well," he told the Herald.

"I understand hotels in the area are booked out and gardai will be monitoring the situation. They are also watching all ferry terminals over the weekend as well," he added.