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WATCH: 'This is an ancient culture' - Love/Hate actor John Connors leads sulky driving event to raise awareness around suicide prevention

Actor and Traveller rights activist, John Connors, led a sulky driving event to raise awareness and support the prevention of suicide in Co Tipperary today.

The event was called "a drive for hope and change" and a number of people took to the road in sulkies before gathering to hear John Connors, famous for his role in Love/Hate, and others speak.

The suicide rate among travellers in six times that of the general population a 2016 report found.

Sulky racing is a common hobby for Traveller men Mr Connors said and it is an outlet which should be capitalised on as a tool for "saving men's lives" he said.

"Having one of the highest suicide rates in the world, having as many outlets as possible to occupy the mind and feel catharsis is great. This is an ancient culture. More and more councils are trying to ban sulky [driving] while it has been saving Traveller mens' lives," Mr Connor's told Independent.ie

"Literally. They Irish state took almost everything from us. We won't stand by and let them take this," he added.

The controversial practise has been under increasing scrutiny by local authorities in recent years and supporters of the traditional pony and trap driving have called for regulation rather than an outright ban on the sport.

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