Kill site is ‘totally unsuitable’ for horse event

The scene at Bishopscourt on March 3. Pic: Tony Keane.
KILDARE County Council has made contact with the developer of a site used for a horse event between Kill and Straffan in early March.

KILDARE County Council has made contact with the developer of a site used for a horse event between Kill and Straffan in early March.

A gathering of horse dealers took place on land at Bishopscourt on March 3 and this prompted complaints from residents about traffic congestion in the area.

There were claims that some people living in the area had difficulty accessing their homes as vehicles, many of them jeep-type vehicles as well as four wheel drive vehicles traversed a country road en route to the event site.

A Garda spokesman said at the time that the event passed off without incident.

“There was a considerable volume of traffic in the vicinity and there were some complaints about entrances being blocked,” the spokesman said.

This was disputed by the organisers who apparently told gardai every effort was made to ensure no entrance to homes in the area were blocked.

According to the gardai, when they asked if an event licence was in force they were told that this was not necessary because the horses were on show rather than on sale.

Cllr. Fintan Brett said he raised the issue with both the gardai and the council. He said the site is totally unsuitable for a gathering of this kind because the road is too narrow.

“We are talking about a narrow laneway and there is room for only one car at a time. This meant that people had to have the assistance of the gardai to get in or out of their homes. There were 5 gardai on duty that day and I think this is a waste of garda resources at a time when these resources are being cut,” said Cllr. Brett.

A Kildare County Council spokeswoman said an event licence is only required in the event of the expected attendance amounting to at least 5,000 people. The numbers who attended fell significantly short of this threshold.

Nevertheless residents expressed concern about the event to the Leader at the time and are fearful that the event, which took place between 9.30am and 1.30pm, will be become a regular fixture. There were calls for a meeting of residents to take place.

The council has described the event as a show out day/horse fair and the alleged use of an agricultural shed for the keeping of horses.

The council has inspected the site on two occasions and following this “correspondence and a warning letter” were issued to the developer regarding the use of the site “for a show out day/horse fair.

A Kildare county council area meeting was told last week that the council has also queried the compliance of the development with the details and conditions of a planning permission decision.

This decision relates to an application by Gerry Farrell for a five bay hay and farm machinery shed, the enlargement and recessing of two existing farm entrance gates, the development of a farm access road and ancillary works at Bishopscourt Upper, granted in October 2009.

- Paul O’Meara