Anger as council land to be used for circus with animals

Jordanstown Loughshore Park. Pic by Google.
Jordanstown Loughshore Park. Pic by Google.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has backed a motion to allow a circus which uses animals for entertainment to set up in the borough next month.

At last night’s meeting of the local authority, members discussed an application from Tom Duffy’s Circus to set up at Jordanstown Lough Shore Park.

It is understood horses and dogs are to be used during performances at the local beauty spot.

During the debate, Alliance representative, Cllr John Blair voiced his opposition to the proposal, however, the majority of members backed the recommendation to allow the circus to use the site on June 6 and 10.

Speaking to the Newtownabbey Times after the meeting, Cllr Blair said: “I am opposed to the use of council property being used in this way and I am opposed to animals being used for entertainment in principle.

“I am flabbergasted at the stance taken by SDLP and Sinn Fein representatives in supporting the motion.

“Some unionist members continued to back this type of entertainment, but I am pleased other unionist councillors from the UUP, DUP and TUV opposed it along with my colleague Cllr Billy Webb.

“Hundreds of constituents have voiced concerns about this issue in the past and although animals will be at this circus, I will keep opposing their use as entertainment for humans.”

His party colleague, Cllr Neil Kelly was unable to attend the meeting at Antrim Civic Centre. Taking to Facebook, Cllr Kelly said: “As you know I oppose animal circus acts and have protested outside Duffy’s Circus on many occasions with fellow activists from Northern Ireland Says No To Animal Cruelty (NISNTAC).

“Well done to my party colleague John Blair for raising this issue last night. We fell short on the vote, but will continue the fight.”

In a statement, a council spokesman said: “Council approved the request by Tom Duffy’s circus on May 29 to use the facilities at Lough Shore Park, Jordanstown with the normal arrangements to be met.

“Council doesn’t hold any information on the impact on the local economy. No complaints have been received.”