Circus in Ireland has had a long tradition and loyal audiences but Irish circus families say their business and way of life are now under pressure.

Traditional circuses are facing competition from newcomers, mainly from former fun fair and fit-up owners. 

Fossetts, the largest circus in the country travelling the roads of Ireland for ninety-nine years.

Teddy Fossett describes how his business as been hit by this new competition from people who weren't even born in the business. He feels that the public is being fooled by false promises about international entertainers on posters. 

Fossett's Circus have many performing animals in their show, which are expensive to buy and to look after. 

It takes twenty trucks to move Fossetts cargo of animals, humans and circus gear.

John Duffy of Duffy's Circus also speaks to RTÉ News about the cutbacks they have made since his father's time in the circus.  John's mother Eva remains optimistic about the future of circus life and says the responsibility is on her two sons to make the show better each year. 

Teddy Fossett feels that in order to protect the traditional circus, the government needs to introduce some sort of system for grading shows. At present, according to Teddy,

Anybody can come in and start a circus.

Teddy Fossett says that if something is not done, then he would consider calling it a day.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 29 April 1987. The reporter is Michael Lally.