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Horse fair to be rebranded a family event

THE Smithfield horse fair is to be rebranded as a family event under plans being drawn up by Dublin City Council.

Local authority chiefs want to attract parents and children to the market when the revamped fair takes place in March.

New regulations governing the fair have been ratified, reducing it from a monthly to a bi-annual event, and a special committee established by the council is discussing how they can attract families.

"There are going to be two categories -- one section for horses for sale and another section for horses on show," Independent councillor Christy Burke told the Herald.

"We want to turn it into a family-friendly fair."

He said attractions like a blacksmith shoeing horses, Shetland ponies and horse rides for children could be introduced as part of the plan.

Massive restrictions were placed on the event following a chaotic fair in March 2011 when two men were injured in a shooting incident.

The by-laws were drawn up after the outbreak of violence and the incident led to demands for stricter controls on the animal traders. The first fair since new by-laws were ratified will take place in March.

As part of the new rules, only two fairs a year -- one in March and another in September -- will take place.



promote

Traders have to register with Dublin City Council, giving their PPS number, and pay a fee of €10 for each horse they bring.

The local authority is also to set up a marketing group of horse owners, business representatives and Smithfield residents to promote the market.

Council chiefs felt the frequency of the market -- on the first Sunday of every month -- contrasted with most other fairs which are held far less often.

A significant amount of resources had been spent by gardai, the council, Revenue Commissioners and other State bodies policing the event.

As a market right exists for Smithfield, the council could not ban the fair outright without providing a suitable alternative location.

Traders will be prevented from entering the market unless they produced a valid equine passport as well as public liability insurance for the display or selling of the animals in a public place.

comurphy@herald.ie