HORSES have feelings too and RTÉ journalists have been warned not to offend them by insensitively suggesting that they wear nappies.
An internal memo to staff at the national broadcaster warned them to not use the 'N' word in their coverage of the recent controversy over the banning of jarveys – the drivers of horse-drawn carriages – from Killarney National Park. The jarveys were banned last week for refusing to use dung-catchers for their horses.
The controversy was the latest episode in a long-running row in the tourist town, where the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) want the jarveys' horses to wear the nappy-like devices as the roads in the park are constantly fouled with horse dung.
The jarveys claim the dung-catchers are dangerous and refuse to use them. They claim the devices irritate the horses because the animals are unable to swat away flies while wearing them.
A memo circulated to RTÉ journalists in the past fortnight stated: "In covering the Killarney jarvey story, please use the term 'dung catchers' not 'nappies'. The National Parks committee has objected to the use of 'nappies'."
After a week-long controversy, the jarveys secured a temporary injunction from the High Court that allows them to drive their horse-drawn carriages through
Killarney National Park.
Since the court's granting of the interim injunction, which restrains the National Parks and Wildlife Service from barring access to the park, the 27 jarveys in the dispute have returned to normal service.
During their court hearing, the jarveys argued that the NPWS actions in banning them from the park were "dramatic and draconian" during the busiest time of the year, as a jarvey ride is a traditional part of the Killarney tourist experience.