The birth of a foal in Bantry last week was not a happy occasion because the conditions in which it is being kept – adjacent to a halting site – is grossly unacceptable, a local councillor has claimed.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) raised the issue at a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District meeting in Dunmanway last Tuesday afternoon.
Cllr Collins said he was very concerned about the conditions in which the foal and three other donkeys are being kept at Harbour View in Bantry.
The councillor pointed out that the land on which the animals are being kept is owned by Cork County Council – a fact that he highlighted in The Southern Star last January.
‘Why,’ he asked, ‘is this being allowed to continue? On an almost daily basis, I am receiving calls and complaints about the welfare of these animals and the conditions they have to endure.’
He said Harbour View is one of the town’s most scenic locations and yet nothing has been done to remedy the situation.
The councillor said he was concerned about the type of food the animals are being fed, the concrete conditions under hoof, and the lack of adequate shelter.
He said he believes the donkeys have not been micro-chipped –which is a requirement under law – and that their general well-being is being neglected.
Cllr Collins said: ‘This issue has been allowed to shamefully slide since it was first reported to the local authority last October’. And he added: ‘I have no choice but to publicly call on Cork Council Councils’ veterinarian department to intervene and inspect this site as soon as possible.’
The Southern Star contacted the West Cork Travellers Association and asked them to comment on the situation.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Donkey Sanctuary Ireland told The Southern Star they were ‘unable to comment on the individual circumstances of this case but we are aware of the presence of donkeys at the halting site in Bantry.’
The spokesperson said: ‘The focus of our work is to improve the welfare of donkeys in the community. We are committed to helping owners provide vital care and enabling them to take responsibility for the welfare of their donkeys.’
Before going to press, Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) told The Southern Star he had heard back from the Council’s veterinary department.
He said: ‘They confirmed they had been made aware of it previously as the department had contacted them but said that they had no issue with the welfare of the animals.’ Furthermore, a Council official confirmed: ‘A Cork County Council vet went to the site (recently) and confirmed that although he did not go onto the site he was able to observe the animals and he had no animal welfare concerns with the animals.’