A feasibility study is to be carried out into creating Travellers’ horse-caring project in Co Cork, which it’s hoped will put an end to the number of stray animals being put down every year by the local authority.
Last year, the council was forced to put down 157 horses at a cost of around €1,000 each.
Many are believed to have belonged to Travellers, although it was impossible to prove this as they weren’t microchipped and went unclaimed by their owners.
The move to create a ‘Horse Project’ in Cork County was proposed by Cllr Melissa Mullane and won widespread support from her council colleagues.
She said the local authority’s own research on Traveller Accommodation and through liaising with Traveller Representative Bodies “showed the care and rearing of horses is an indelible part of Traveller culture and identity”.
Ms Mullane said it was the stated view of Cork County Council in its Traveller Accommodation Plan (2014-2018) that consideration to be given to supporting a feasibility study with a view to the provision of a horse project in the county.
She said this feasibility study should begin immediately with funding for the project being made available next year in the council’s annual budget.
Ms Mullane said it would be “of huge benefit” and would be good for mental health of male Travellers in particular as looking after horses provided them with daily activity, especially as they “are largely excluded from labour market”.
Cllr Paul Hayes said he recently met with the West Cork Traveller Group and it was a project they want introduced.
He pointed out that so far this year only 119 horses were euthanised, which while a welcome downward trend was still far too many.
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