Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (1360, 1371, 1372, 1373)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

1360. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason his Department or Cork City Council refuse to remove stray, unregistered horses from lands in an area (details supplied) in Cork city; the reason the horses have not been removed by the council in view of the fact that they are on land not designated for equines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34878/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

1371. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason his Department or Cork City Council refuse to remove stray horses from lands in an area (details supplied) on welfare grounds in view of the fact there is no available drinking water on site; the reason requests by farmers for the animals to be removed are being ignored in view of the fact the land is needed to harvest silage; the reason farmers in the area are being forced to accommodate the animals in further view of the fact that perimeter fencing was purposefully cut to allow the horses to enter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34877/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

1372. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason stray horses on lands in an area (details supplied) have not been removed despite the erection of a sign by his Department in December 2018 informing the owners of the animals to remove them within a certain timeframe that has passed or face them being impounded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34879/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

1373. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason stray unregistered horses are allowed to remain on lands in an area (details supplied) presenting a biosecurity risk to the cattle of farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34880/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1360 and 1371 to 1373, inclusive, together.

The Control of Horses Act 1996 provides powers to Local Authorities to deal with stray and abandoned horses and for the designation by each Local Authority of control areas in which horses cannot be kept without a licence. Members of An Garda Siochána have also been assigned powers commensurate with those of Authorised Officers under the Act.

Land owners have responsibility to ensure appropriate fencing, boundaries, notices and signage are in place to control movement of stray equines.

In the area of welfare, officials of my Department may intervene under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. In addition, local authorities are empowered to appoint officers of the Authority as authorised officers to enforce the Animal Health and Welfare Act within the Authority’s functional area.

My Department officials are aware of the situation in Holyhill to which the Deputy refers and a Department Veterinary Inspector has undertaken regular inspections to monitor any welfare issues with the horses concerned. Veterinary Officials have also been liaising with other agencies including the Gardai in an effort to resolve the matter. Additionally, the situation has been monitored by the ISPCA who have remained in contact with the local Department office.

A number of horses and a donkey were seized recently from the Holyhill location in question under the Control of Horses Act 1996.

My Department has also taken a proactive approach in tackling challenges that arise in the case of horse ownership in urban areas by developing suitable facilities and in educating the young people involved in the care and welfare of horses. This work is done in close collaboration with the local authorities involved.