For many years there has been an ongoing conflict between local horse owners and the council. Responsible horse owners regularly faced the heartache of the council impounding their horse, and if they could not pay €800 their pet would be euthanized. South Dublin County Council have spent o half a million euros over the past four years impounding and euthanizing horses.
For horses that are neglected or abused there is a need for the council or animal rescue to intervene. However, for the most part the horses impounded were in good health. Responsible horses owners were punished for the actions of a minority.
In 2012 horse owners along with then Councillor Gino Kenny came together to form Clondalkin Equine Club. They were seeking land off the council to home their horses safely. The main obstacle they faced was the stigmatization and stereotyping of what many people call urban cowboys. In reality this was ultimately a belief that working class youths are not entitled to have horses, and a lack of understanding of the positivity for young people to have a horse.
South Dublin County Council had an equine problem that was costing them about €125,000 annually. They knew this was unsustainable, and to address this issue it was up to them to change their policies. Clondalkin Equine Club had the solution; this involved changing attitudes of many council officials.
“We are so delighted that the club has finally secured the premises and we are up and running as a horse project. We have worked tirelessly for four and a half years as local horse owners who wanted to stop the state criminalising our young people because they want to continue the tradition of keeping horses.
We want to provide a place to belong for our young people, we want our tradition of horse owning to be not only acknowledged but recognised for the positive role it plays in the lives of young people in our community.
We are open 4 weeks this week, and already we can see the positive impact the project is having on the young people attending. We can grow from strength to strength and our main focus will be on securing resources/ funding going forward to develop all our plans and ideas.”
Roisin Kearney said
“Its amazing to see a dream become a reality I believe this club will be serving the community of Clondalkin long after we are gone. This club is creating spaces where members can learn through their passion and it gives a sense of belonging and community. From the beginning of the club coming together we took a multi-agency approach working with all community groups and services. It has made us strongly community minded and we can refer members to other services within the community.”
Clondalkin Equine Club is hoping to assist any other local groups or campaigns across Ireland to achieve a horse project like in Clondalkin.
To donate or contact club email email@example.com
And in Labre Park…
February’s South Central Area Committee meeting passed unanimously, People Before Profit Councillor Hazel de Nortuin’s motion, which stated:
“To ask the Area Manager to support the redevelopment of Labre Park and recognising Traveller Ethnicity. I am asking that this Area Committee allocate some of the land between the canal and Labre Park for the development of a horse project. This will enable the horses currently in Labre Park and critical to Traveller culture, to be accommodated during and post redevelopment.”
Councillor de Nortuín said “This will be a great development for the area. This piece of land in question has been left idle and with no developmental potential. This will be the best solution for everyone. Any horse project on site, will be visible from the road side and I look forward to working with the residents of Labre Park to see this project through.”