Two young children ride a sulky on the Hebron Road in Kilkenny City
A local councillor who has been to the fore in challenging animal cruelty and the practice of sulky racing in Kilkenny has now collected over 17,000 signatures in his petition calling for the proper regulation of horse-drawn vehicles on our roads.
Cllr Andrew McGuinness has also finally received a response from one of two Government ministers he wrote to regarding the matter, inviting both to Kilkenny and calling for something to be done to prevent loss of life and injury to animals and road users.
“I’m very much encouraged by the overwhelming response to the online petition,” said the Fianna Fail councillor.
“It is my intention to keep this going until the Dail resumes at the end of September. At that stage, I will deliver the petition on behalf of all who signed it, by hand to both Ministers in Leinster House. The more signatures we have, the stronger the message.”
Cllr McGuinness has also written to both Minister Michael Creed and Minister Shane Ross requesting they either visit Kilkenny to hear first hand the stories of animal abuse, or allow him to lead a delegation to meet them in Dublin. While one of them has written back, there has not been much talk on legislation.
“So far, I have only received a response from Minister Creed and to be fair, it was a detailed response and he did agree to allow officials from his Department to meet with me,” says Cllr McGuinness.
“He also stated that if we had any proposals ourselves, that he would happily have them examined by the Department.”
Cllr McGuinness has raised the issue of Department funding and funding committments to local authorities relating to education programmes and horse projects where there may be some initial surrender of animals.
"While I am disappointed that the Minister’s response does not include a national plan to legislate horse drawn vehicles and ban sulky racing on our roads, I am happy the channels of communication are now open and at least one Minster seems to be listening,” he said.
“I do believe it will take a lot of public and political pressure to get the results we are striving for, but I am 100% committed to this campaign and I have no intentions of easing off until we see positive results. Let’s keep the campaign going and have our message heard loud and clear."