Call for horse fair to be shut after gunshots causes stampede

DSPCA offices walk by horses in Smithfield today

Renewed calls to shut down Smithfield Horse Fair were made after gunshots from a homemade shotgun caused a stampede today.

Horses bolted after hearing the gunshots leaving crowes of people including small children caught up in the stampede. The homemade shotgun was taken by Gardai and army explosives experts shortly afterwards made the device safe, as we reported earlier.

The Dublin Society of Prevention to Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) said it is calling for the horse fair to be shut “once and for all following scenes of criminality and violence.”

“Watching people literally running for their lives this morning as frightened horses reared up following gun shots should make the new Government realise that the time for talking is over,” said Jimmy Cahill, head of the DSPCA.

The society said in a statement that if injured and neglected horses being traded in a city centre does not motivate our legislators to action then scenes where children were injured in a stampede and people removed to hospital with gun injuries should.

“This is not some quaint tradition that celebrates Ireland’s love for horses. This is a major health and safety issue that today moved firmly into criminality,” said Cahill.

He added: “The Smithfield Market is unlicensed, unregulated, and completely unsuitable for horses .We have regularly come across neglected and injured horses here, which flies in the face of Ireland’s reputation as a nation of horse lovers.”

Dublin City Council does not have the power to restrict the historic horse fair rights unless it can relocate it to a suitable area. But the council says it does not have the money to fund such a move and it has also repeatedly call on central government extinguish the rights for the horse fair.

Smithfield Horse Owners’ Association have been highly critical of the council for restricting the space in the square. Work started recently on the second phase of redevelopment of Smithfield leaving near to half of the square closed off.

MORE: Shots fired in Smithfield


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