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Dispute over whether or not horses are causing havoc on Kilrush Rd

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There is no evidence of horse activity or horses on the Kilrush Rd following six separate investigations carried out by Clare County Council despite a local representative stating they were “causing havoc” on the busy road.

Cllr Mary Howard demanded the local authority to use its powers under The Control of Horses Act “to remove the horses which are causing havoc on the Kilrush Rd”, in a motion to the September meeting of the Ennis Municipal District.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Padraic Flynn confirmed they had carried out six separate investigations in a two week window during August. “On each of these inspections, there were no horses on the road nor was there evidence of horse activity on the road”. Where there is a possible danger to the public due to the presence of horses on a road, An Garda Síochána “ordinarily advise” the Council but Flynn said they have received “no such reports”.

Howard outlined she was not satisfied with the reply and that residents wouldn’t be either. The Fine Gael councillor informed the meeting the contents of emails she had received from concerned residents which said that horses had been “grazing on Council land” three times in the space of four days. “Apart from the danger to the public, the mare could die of exhaustion. Are the Council waiting for a death to occur before they take action”. She added, “One Monday morning at 1am a horse was being chased by a dog,” along this stretch of road.

Leas Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy who lives in close proximity to the Kilrush Rd revealed, “I have not witnessed what it relayed in those emails. The inspections didn’t yield any evidence of horses being on the road”. She enquired if the residents could contact the Council if they see horses on the Kilrush Rd to which Cllr Howard replied, “They have been contacting the Gardaí immediately”.

Her comments were disputed by Colleran Molloy, “The reply says there has been no contact with Gardaí”. She added, “I have not seen horses on the road but I have seen them on land which is not belonging to the owners”.

Senior executive officer, Leonore O’Neill clarified, “When horses are on public land, the Council are notified, when they are a danger to the public, it is An Garda Síochána that are contacted, on private land they are the responsibility of the owner”. She flagged that any complaints relating to the issue should be sent to the environmental section of the local authority.

It is not the first time animals have caused controversy at this particular side of Ennis. In April 2018, 22 feral goats began roaming the roads unsupervised leading to ‘unacceptable disturbance’ as members of the Ennis MD stated at the time.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, and A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to -

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