'Shocking' and 'appalling' sulky race on busy Dublin motorway is condemned

The video shows a convoy of cars, with passengers hanging out the windows, ahead of two sulky racers leading another trail of cars on the busy N7

Allison Bray

A shocking video showing a sulky race on a busy motorway has been condemned by both Travellers' rights and animal welfare organisations as appalling and unacceptable.

The video currently doing the rounds on social media shows a pair of sulky horses sandwiched between a large convoy of cars in which young men are seen hanging out the windows, whooping and cheering.

It shows the race taking place over four lanes on the busy N7 near Citywest in south Dublin.

Gardai at Rathcoole are investigating and want witnesses to contact them or their local garda station.

The date and time of the incident are not known.

Travellers' rights organisation Pavee Point said it was appalled by the incident, describing it as "completely unacceptable and endangers other road users and indeed animals and participants themselves".

The sulky racers on the N7

"This misuse of a public road is shocking and Pavee Point calls on anybody contemplating similar activities to stop and consider the safety of other road users," the organisation said in a statement yesterday.

"Sulky racing, which is a long-standing tradition within and outside the Traveller community, should not be confused with the actions of the participants in this incident."

The organisation is urging local authorities to work with Traveller organisations and gardai to "bring a resolution which allows this long-standing tradition to continue in a manner which is safe, legal and regulated".

Meanwhile, the head of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) said the incident was not only an alleged act of animal cruelty, but a danger to anyone involved, either directly or indirectly.


"Driving young horses and ponies flat out at excessive speed on Ireland's busy roads, often by children as young as 10 years old, is an accident waiting to happen," said ISPCA chief executive Dr Andrew Kelly.

"All it takes is a trip or stumble, which can be fatal for horse and sulky driver.

"It is also a risk for other road users and another serious accident or fatality is inevitable.

"In 2018, a 12-year-old boy was killed near Dublin when he was thrown from a sulky into the path of an oncoming truck after the horse which was pulling the sulky bolted across a busy road.

"Action should have been taken then to take sulkies off public roads."

He said racing horses in such a manner often ends up with the horses being seriously injured or killed and callously abandoned at the roadside.