Lammas Fair horse trading ban stays

A NARROW majority of Moyle councillors last night (Mon May 14) voted to keep in place a controversial ban on horse trading at the Lammas Fair in Ballycastle.

The Council split 8-7 in favour of no horse dealing at the world famous Fair which is held every August.

The Fair annually attracts over 100,000 people and recently Moyle Council announced a ban on horse trading which was based on animal welfare issues and concerns about the proximity of horses to members of the public in Ballycastle’s Fairhill Street.

After the ban, horse traders expressed anger at the move and they recently met to air their concerns with the Council’s Lammas Fair Working Group but their pleadings have been rejected.

At a meeting last night, Council Chairperson, Independent councillor Padraig McShane, proposed that the ban stays in place but that the Lammas Fair committee and council officers “will look at something more suitable in future”.

Cllr Randal McDonnell (Independent) supported the ban and said a big concern was health and safety at Fairhill Street.

“There are all sorts of naive people milling about, people who are not farmers, people with children and if any horse had gone out of control at all it would have been a disaster,” said Cllr McDonnell.

He said if horse traders wanted to get a field and do trading there they could but he said the Lammas Fair is no longer a safe place for horse trading.

Cllr Joan Baird (Ulster Unionist) was one of seven councillors who wanted the horse trading ban rescinded but with strict controls.

She said many people wanted horse dealing to continue and said that coming from a farming background she said the care of animals is “vital”.

With tight controls in place she said horse traders would be aware they would be under the microscope.