Rules for the regulation of sulkies on public roads are to be sought from the Minister for the Environment, after South Tipperary County Council was told it is not in their power to make by-laws in that area.
Councillors had wanted to regulate the horse-drawn carts and the age of those driving them. However legal advice received by the council is that there is no provision for a local authority to make a by-law under the Control of Horses Act.
The matter was discussed at length at a previous council meeting and then at a Special Policy Committee meeting. Reporting back to the full January meeting of the County Council Director of Services, Jimmy Harney, said it was now proposed that the Minister for the Environment would be required to make national regulations that would bring in a licence for road users and a certificate of competency for sulky drivers.
Mr. Harney said the County Council had received legal advice telling them they do not have the statutory powers to ban sulkies from South Tipp roads, or their use by children.
Concern was expressed by Cllr. Darren Ryan who said there is “huge abuse and torture of horses” going on. He said he had a problem with the fact they couldn’t put a by-law in place on this matter when Clonmel Borough Council could pass by-laws on drinking in public.
Cllr. Siobhan Ambrose said it was a prominent issue generating a huge amount of calls to councillors in the Clonmel area.
Cllr. Richie Molloy said he was especially disappointed to hear they could not impose an age limit on sulky drivers. “Either those lads on the sulkies are going to be killed or they are going to cause an accident on the by-pass,” he warned.
Director of Services Jimmy Harney said there were two issues - lack of responsible horse ownership and the licensing of vehicles. However he said the scheme being proposed to the Minister by the council would go a long way towards regulating the area.
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