Plan for Cork's first Traveller horse grazing site backed

The ISPCA and the Department of Agriculture have backed plans for Cork’s first Traveller horse grazing project.

A 35-acre site west of the city, on the northern banks of the River Lee at the Carrigrohane end of the Lee Road, has been identified to facilitate the grazing of up to 20 horses owned by 10 families.

It will be a ‘grazing only’ project with no permanent structures on site.

The horse owners have formed a Traveller Horse Association and have agreed a strict set of rules and regulations governing the operation of the site which will be licensed for 11 months to the Traveller Visibility Group (TVG) and will be subject to annual review.

Residents will also be given a named contact for any issues which may arise.

A spokesperson for the steering group overseeing the project said the members of the Traveller Horse Association have a “deep commitment” to animal welfare.

“The grazing site will be secure, well-fenced, well-run and monitored by CCTV,” she said.

“Horses in the project will be subject to ongoing review by the ISPCA and Department of Agriculture officials in accordance with their remit for all horse welfare.

“This project will be very well maintained and all agencies involved hope to work with the local residents in making it a reality, and also in allaying any concerns they may have.”

Plans for the project emerged from a horse seminar held in the city in March 2013 which heard evidence that such Traveller horse projects have reduced the number of impounded horses, reduced levels of anti-social behaviour, and reduced costs to local authorities of dealing with various horse issues.

The project has been developed by an inter-agency group which includes representatives of TVG, gardaí, Cork City Council, the ISPCA, department of agriculture, Cork Healthy Cities Traveller Unit, the HSE and Cork City Partnership.

Earlier this week, they invited local residents to a public meeting on Monday to discuss the project, but it has been postponed following complaints about the short notice.

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