Residents in a number of housing estates in the Ballybane area are up in arms over the Galway City Council’s perceived failure to tackle the on-going problems with horses being left tethered or roaming free, leaving manure and muck on green areas, footpaths, and streets.
The concern for the potential danger posed to young children playing in the area and the damage to vehicles has also been highlighted by a number of city councillors who have raised the issue with the council.
“There have been a lot of complaints made, but we seem to be knocking our heads off a stone wall,” said Labour Councillor Tom Costello, who is now calling on city manager Joe McGrath to take a more hands-on approach to deal with the issue.
“Horses are in gardens, out on the roads, in the green areas. There’s a major danger to young children and damage to cars. The horses are wandering loose in a lot of estates in Ballybane. Some horses are tethered from time to time but a lot of them are left on undeveloped land and break through boundary fences to run freely onto the estates.
“I’d like to hear from the council what their intent is. The residents associations and the councillors have been reporting this problem for a long time but we’ve had no success. People are totally frustrated at this stage.”
Cllr Costello said that the council needs to take “urgent action” in relation to horses in the area. He also criticised the council for the lack of street sweepers in a number of local authority housing estates in the Ballybane area.
“We were told this was due to cut backs and were assured that a programme would be implemented to ensure that each area gets its fair share, but we don’t see anything on the ground. A lot of estates have simply been forgotten about,” said Cllr Costello who added that he will be raising these issues at the next city council meeting.
A Fana Glas resident told the Advertiser that “there’s horses and muck all over the place and the council are passing the buck”. “The horses are left for days at a time and they’re not being watered. It’s a disgrace. We’re are at our wits end,” said the woman who further explained that many residents endeavour to keep the area clean of muck and manure but that it is a never ending battle. “It’s an environmental health issue, there’s manure all over our car wheels and it’s all up on the curb where the children play. We [the residents] don’t mind the horses but sometimes they’re not being fed or watered. I can’t understand why the council is not doing anything. I’m not going to keep cleaning up after the horses. I’m sick of doing it,” she said.
A spokesperson for Galway City Council said that “no specific complaints” regarding horses in the Ballybane area have been received recently, but that any official complaint is dealt with seriously and in some cases an investigation is launched to identify owners and issue a warning to secure their animals and take responsibility. The spokesperson added that the council does receive complaints from all over the city and that in the last month alone six horses were taken from the western side of the city and impounded. Regarding the issue of street sweepers, he said that all housing estates are part of a “rota of cleaning”.