Minister calls for regulation of sulky racing amid safety concerns

A sulky rider. A sulky is a lightweight cart having two wheels and a seat for the driver only but usually without a body, generally pulled by horses and is used for harness races.

Niall O'Connor

A Government minister has called for new measures to completely outlaw sulky racing on public roads.

Communications Minister Denis Naughten told Cabinet today that he is deeply concerned about the impact the practice is having on road safety and animal welfare.

Sulky racing is particular popular among the Traveller community.

However, many unlicensed races have taken place and public roads. They have resulted in serious injuries in some cases.

Sulky racing involves a driver placing himself in a two wheeled cart that is driven by a horse attached to a harness.

Videos have appeared online showing unregulated races taking place.

In many circumstances, innocent motorists have been placed in danger.

At Cabinet today, Mr Naughten secured support in his calls for measures to address the issue of sulky racing.

It’s understood Mr Naughten is seeking the introduction of bye-laws. He also wants the use of wild animals banned from circuses.

He will discuss the issue this week with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed with the aim of having the issue addressed through amendments to the Animal Welfare Bill, which is due to be voted upon by TDs this week.