The danger of ‘children’ travelling on the main roads around Clonmel on horse drawn sulkies is to be tackled with new bye laws that have been published by South Tipperary County Council.
Fears that the sulkies, often driven by young people, are ‘an accident waiting to happen’ have prompted the new bye laws.
The bye laws which will make it illegal to own a horse without a special licence and a horse passport.
The regulations are set out under the Control of Horses Act and the new bye laws, when adopted, will designated the whole of South Tipperary as a ‘control area’ under the act.
The main provisions of the bye law are that no one can keep or have charge of a horse “without a current horse licence” or “without a horse passport issued by the Department of Agriculture or by an approved body such as Horse Sport Ireland.”
Exemptions will apply in the case of landowners with a minimum of one acre of land in respect of each horse owned, owners whose animals are registered with a riding club approved by the council and owners of registered thoroughbred horses.
The council brought forward the new bye laws following a request by Clonmel Borough Council earlier this year.
Acting Director of Services, Jimmy Harney, told the meeting that the Clonmel area has been, and continues, to experience difficulty with uncontrolled and loose horses in public places.
He said any submissions from the public, during the period of public consultation, will be considered before the bye laws come back to the council.The bye law was proposed by Cllr Joe Donovan and seconded by Cllr Siobhan Ambrose.
Cllr Darren Ryan told his County Council colleagues. “It’s a reality. One only has to be on one of the major roads going through Clonmel to see it. Not a day goes by when we don’t get a call about a child going up the N24 on sulkies - it’s an accident waiting to happen.”Cllr Billy SHoer said that while most people look after the horses very well some don’t. “This needs tackling and needs tackling soon.”Council Chairman Cllr John Crosse, said it was an important bye law and that submissions would be welcome from any person, group or organisation.
“Any responsible horse owner has nothing to fear from with this bye law,”said Mr.Harney.
Mr Harney asked councillors and members of the public who do come across loose horses to report them to the Environment Section of the County Council, who will decide what council inspector is best placed to be called out to the situation.
Cllr Denis Leahy said children of eight or nine, 10, 11 or 12 should not be driving sulkies, and was told the legal minimum age for someone to be in charge of the vehicle is 16.