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"Unfair and unjust" - Traveller family to appeal confiscation of 29 horses to High Court

The horses were seized last month as part of an initiative known as Operation Storm.

4799259683_9c9352629f_o Source: gordonplant

A TRAVELLER FAMILY is to appeal to the High Court the confiscation of 29 horses by the State last month.

The horses, which are described as pets, were seized by the Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the gardaí on 17 February as part of an initiative known as Operation Storm, itself an offshoot of the gardaí’s Operation Thor which targets rural crime.

The seizure has been described as “unfair and unjust” by Bernard Power, spokesman for the Kilkenny Traveller Community Movement.

“We’re very, very aggrieved, as far as we’re concerned this was an unlawful seizure by the department,” Power said.

The gardaí said it was under Operation Storm, but I can’t see how horses are going from county to county stealing things.

The families involved have been back to the Kilkenny District Court on two occasions in the interim in an effort to get the horses back. On the second of these occasions Judge Colin Daly gave the families in question the right to appeal the seizure to the High Court.

Permission

Power says this is something that should be acted upon within the next month or so, with a guide date of 5 April set aside.

“On the first day the judge gave myself, a vet and the family permission to visit the pound to check on the animals but the Department of Agriculture wouldn’t let it happen,” he said.

According to a statement from Pavee Point, the Traveller’s Centre, the horses were taken in front of the family’s children by men who in some cases “wore balaclavas” or who were “accompanied by dogs”.

The same release alleges that many of the Department of Agriculture’s own animal welfare guidelines were breached in the seizure.

“This is one of the most disadvantaged families in the state. I hope to God something like this never happens again,” said Power.

TheJournal.ie contacted both the gardaí and, at their referral, the Department of Agriculture in relation to this story.

“As this matter is being progressed through the Courts, there is no comment to be made at this juncture,” the Department said in a statement.

Comments have been disabled on this article as it concerns an ongoing legal matter

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