A central Dublin horse market will stay put after councillors abandoned plans to move it.

The sales are held responsible for driving thousands of horses into miserable existences on the city’s housing estates.

Smithfield has been a marketplace since the 1600s, but is now a cobbled square with glass-fronted apartment blocks and stainless steel street furniture.

Dublin City Council had been due to announce a new venue for the market last month, but instead said it could no longer afford to fund the relocation.

A council spokesman told H&H: “In the current economic conditions there is no money to invest in an alternative site for this market, even if a suitable location could be found.”

The council tried to close the fair in 2002 after a horse bolted and crashed into a car but traders defied the ban.

Under Irish law, Smithfield cannot be closed without an alternative venue being provided nearby.