A man was arrested at Tramore Beach on Saturday (April 16th) after an out of control horse narrowly avoided a group of pedestrians having been involved in ‘sulky racing’.
The incident was brought to light by local Independent Councillor Joe Conway at this month’s meeting of the Metropolitan District of Waterford City & County Council.
Cllr. Conway noted how he made a call to local Gardaí when seeing the ‘sulky race’ unfold.
“Last Saturday, around lunchtime - I was walking along the strand in Tramore, and saw two sulkies running along the beach. This being contrary to the beach by-laws which we enacted last year. They were travelling east along the strand, and I phoned the guards to say that this was the situation.”
While waiting for Gardaí to arrive, drama unfolded as one of the horses narrowly avoided colliding with Cllr. Conway among other beach goers.
“A few minutes later, they came back up east to west on the strand. They were travelling at high speed. I heard the hoof fall behind me and the leading sulky passed within quite close to me - about 20 metres. The second, was much closer. I noticed to my alarm at that stage that it had shed its driver.”
Cllr. Conway said the horse was running ‘completely out of control’.
“It bore down directly on a couple who were walking on the strand. They had a split second to save themselves. They threw themselves side long while the horse and sulky missed them by inches - actually passing between them and the dog that they were walking. The horse then, with sulky still hitched, made its way to the wall close to the toilets - attempted to clear it, failed and fell back prone on the sand, where small children were sitting and playing.”
He went on to detail how the horse and cart came to rest ‘upside down’ in the sand, while a woman who was nearly hit was ‘very badly shaken’. Cllr. Conway then approached the driver and informed him that he was in breach of the aforementioned Council bylaws - to which Cllr. Conway allegedly received a ‘highly tempestuous’ response.
A statement from Gardaí which was issued to WLR reads:
“Gardaí received reports of sulky racing on Tramore beach on Saturday the 16th of April 2022. Gardaí attended the scene and spoke to a number of individuals present. One man was arrested on foot of a bench warrant and taken to Tramore Garda Station.”
Cllr. Conway was unhappy with the situation, and constant breaking of the law. He says there could have been a death as a result of the incident.
“The people of Tramore and visitors to Tramore have had to put up with sulky racing on the beach - and it’s against the law. We really need to get our act together as a Council to have that heavily and stringently policed at times of low tide. This sort of behaviour is putting members of the public at grave risk. It could have been a fatality on Saturday.”