Ballinasloe Horse Fair scaled back for 2016

Organisers of the Ballinasloe Horse Fair and Festival have decided to downsize the festival this year, amid fears of a repeat of last year’s disturbances over a ban on sulky racing.

A number of events which would normally be part of the fair have been cancelled for this year’s event, including the official opening, free music entertainment, and the lunging events.

The organisers said they were forced to make the call due to concerns over health and safety.

There were heated protests at last year’s event after Galway County Council, the Department of Agriculture, and Gardaí advised that they could no longer facilitate sulky racing on the advice of insurers.

The council installed ramps to prevent the racing from going ahead in its traditional venue on the Fairgreen.

The traditional horse fair and horse sales will still go ahead on Sunday, October 2, Monday, October 3, and Saturday, October 8.

The event is one of Europe’s oldest and largest horse fairs, dating back to the 18th century, and attracts up to 80,000 visitors annually.

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