TD calls 80% cut to city horse control budget ‘shocking’

Mr Gould said the reality was that the problem of neglected and mistreated horses had not reduced over the past five years but the funding provided to tackle it had.
TD calls 80% cut to city horse control budget ‘shocking’

Two horses relaxed in the West Cork countrside on a February afternoon.Picture Denis Minihane.

A Cork TD has described as “absolutely shocking” a reduction of over 80% in spending on control of horses in Cork city in 2022 compared to 2017.

Thomas Gould, Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, accused the Department of Agriculture of “dropping the ball” on protecting horses, after a response to a parliamentary question showed that €1,875 was spent on the control of horses in Cork city in 2022, compared to €11,950 in 2017.

Mr Gould said the reality was that the problem of neglected and mistreated horses had not reduced over the past five years but the funding provided to tackle it had.

“It is absolutely shocking that this year’s budget was only 15% of the budget provided in 2017,” he said.

“Given that Cork city is now bigger, because of the boundary extension, we are actually seeing less money for a bigger area.

Mr Gould said that without a dedicated horse project, the issue of mistreatment of horses would not improve.

“We need to see a firm approach to the neglect of horses and also opportunities for those with a genuine interest to learn how to properly care for the animals.” He said horses should not be a hobby reserved for the wealthy, adding that a horse project would give people a place to gain experience with horses.

“Without this though, we cannot take a laissez-faire approach to the welfare of horses,” Mr Gould said.

Mick Nugent, Sinn Féin councillor, said he was calling on Cork City Council to revisit proposals for a horse project.

“The Department of Agriculture have indicated they would be willing to help fund a project but a proposal needs to be made,” Cllr Nugent said.

“We are also calling for a tough approach against those who wilfully neglect and cruelly treat horses.”

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