Irish horses aid urban kids

  • A new equine centre in Ireland offers hope to Dublin’s inner city kids

    Ireland’s Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, has visited Ireland’s major new £3million equine and educational centre to mark its completion.

    The Cherry Orchard Equine and Educational Centre was built in response to the problems caused by horses being kept on large urban estates near Dublin, a practice which has now been outlawed.

    The centre also aims to help young people who have dropped out of school, are battling against drugs and are destined for long-term unemployment.

    Spokeperson for centre, Niamh O’Keeffe said: “We are aiming to create a welcoming learning environment for children who have a cultural and traditional love of horses – that’s the only qualification.

    “Most will have dropped out of school and probably won’t be able to read.”

    The centre is situated in the west Dublin suburb of Ballyfermot by a council estate housing around 21,000 people.

    The centre has 28 stables, an indoor and outdoor arena, paddocks, four tutorial rooms, a computer room, a training room, canteen and crŠche facility.

    There will be a variety of courses on offer, including stable and yard management, sports horse riding and computer literacy.

    On his visit, Bertie Ahern, said “It is a unique development that the people of Cherry Orchard can be proud of.

    “I was particularly pleased to see that the centre will focus primarily on early school leavers.

    “My government is committed to tackling this issue and the wider issue of educational disadvantage.”

    The centre is still lobbying for money for running costs before the centre opens in the summer.

    Some of the horses will be bought to be used for training, but there will also be some stables for owners of horses on the estate.

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