Jonny Murtagh, centre, with members of the Clondalkin Equine Club: “I feel very humble to be accepting this position [as patron of the club]”

CHAMPION jockey Jonny Murtagh was this week named the patron of the Clondalkin Equine Club.
Murtagh, who has won every major race in flat racing, was on hand this week to officially accept the position, telling the gathered horse lovers that he was “privileged” to help out.
He said: “I can see what you all do for the community and for horses.
“Everyone here all give up their time for the better of the community. I grew up in a small community, and I get the same feeling here in Clondalkin that it is very close knit.
“I feel very humble to be accepting this position, and I feel very happy to be part of it.”
The group, which is campaigning for lands at Clonburris on which to keep horses, was set up last year in response to a mass impounding of animals at the Clonburris fields.
Last month at the same site, seven horses were found dead – a situation that local councillor Gino Kenny (PBP) says must never be permitted to happen again.
Cllr Kenny said: “Having Jonny on board is very positive, and it shows that the club is getting some momentum up. To have Jonny Murtagh as a patron after just six months is very encouraging.
“What happened at Clonburris can’t be allowed to happen again.
“There’re a lot of agencies involved, and there’re a lot of different elements of the community involved in the project; all that is needed now is the land.
“We’re hoping to have a piece of land in the next couple of months, and we can set the club up properly on the land [then],” said Cllr Kenny.
Tom Aspil, the chairman of Clondalkin Equine Club, said that the group was dedicated to the betterment of horse welfare in the Clondalkin area.
He said: “Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will have lands for the people to look after their horses on. We have the VEC coming on board to offer courses in equine treatment.
“We don’t want to see any more poor horses, dead horses or abused horses. Going forward, we would like to think that we will be able to look after them.
“We have a very bright future here, and [Jonny] on board rubber stamps that.”
One of the founder members of the group, Roisin Kearney, said that the movement came about to give horse owners an outlet to better care for the animals.
She said: “I always had horses growing up, and when the horses were impounded, there was nothing you could do to get them back.
“We rounded up the troops and got everyone we knew that was interested in horses, combined with a good network of community groups, and here we are today.”
For further information on the club, see www.facebook.com/condalkin.equineclub.