Safe space for sulky racing is long overdue

Sulky Racing, is traditionally, but not exclusively associated with members of the Travelling Community. | Photo: RTE

Sulky Racing, is traditionally, but not exclusively associated with members of the Travelling Community. | Photo: RTE

A safe, legal place is needed for the practice of Sulky Racing in Waterford to prevent people and horses from getting injured, according to Metropolitan Mayor John Hearne (SF).

The illegal practice which is predominantly associated with the Travelling Community is regularly carried out on the back roads to Tramore and is extremely dangerous in its current format, he stated.

“We have dragged this back onto the agenda at Council meetings because it is a big problem,” he told The Munster Express.

“There are so many issues involved but one of the biggest problems is cruelty to the horses. They shouldn’t be running on roads or racing on them. Gardaí have witnessed horses trying to jump the barriers on the road and falling and being left to die in agony. The Gardaí get stuck with having to put the horses down and the Council have to foot the bill.”

Mayor Hearne also highlighted the dangers of the pursuit for the youngsters involved. “If those young fellas fell off, they could be seriously injured. We need to provide a safe environment for both the animals and the people where nobody is in danger.”

The infrastructure is already in place, he added. “Nine months of the year, Tramore Racecourse is empty. Why not adapt the track so they can use it. If we provided helmets, access to vets, education and training for them, it’s giving them a trade and an opportunity to do something they enjoy, safely.”

Every horse, he continued, should also be chipped and required to hold a passport with regular checks being carried out by Gardaí.

“You shouldn’t have a horse if you can’t feed, stable and look after it. That’s the bottom line.”

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