Cllr Andrew McGuinness.
A Fianna Fail councillor is calling for Kilkenny County Council to liaise with the gardai to explore the idea of creating horse free zones in the city and county.
Cllr Andrew McGuinness has a motion listed at Monday's meeting of Kilkenny County Council calling for the local authority to liaise with the gardai to explore the idea of creating horse free zones in the city and county and introduce a system of exemptions for special occasions such as funerals and weddings and necessary uses such as garda horse patrols.
"This may come across as an extreme proposal but it is in response to the endless amount of extreme animal cruelty and dangers on our roads that we have witnessed in Kilkenny in recent years. It seems that no matter what we do or how much we highlight this issue, it simply continues and therefore requires a response as tough as this proposal.
"I'm not suggesting an outright ban on horses in the city and county and I'm well aware that there are many responsible horse owners in Kilkenny who take great care of their animals. This proposal is simply to create a system to prevent horses from being used or kept in areas or on roads where they simply should not be. It also forces a local system of ownership and care in terms of applying for exemptions.
"This is about animal welfare, road safety and in many cases, child safety. I would hope, that in conjunction with the Gardai, we will be able to implement a system that is easy to enforce and will help to eliminate the heartless cruelty we have unfortunately seen so much of. I believe that this proposal starts that conversation and hopefully we will have a positive result at the end of it.
"This issue is going on far too long and we have seen far too many incidents resulting in animal deaths and potential road accidents. Seeing children operating horses and carts is also far too common. I'm urging all of the authorities to prioritise this issue now and deal with it as a community once and for all," said Cllr McGuinness who added that the changes could be made using the current byelaws.