Cork’s county manager has promised to do everything in his power to prevent a repeat of Traveller families taking over a main road for sulky racing.
Standing orders were suspended at a council meeting yesterday to discuss “the seriousness” of an incident on the Cork-Mallow road in recent weeks which was posted on YouTube.
Cllr Dan Fleming (FF) called for a debate on the incident which involved more than 60 Travellers.
One was arrested at the scene. It is expected further arrests will follow in the coming days for dangerous driving, endangerment and possible cruelty to animals.
“If you looked at the video it was absolutely shocking. There could have been a huge amount of fatalities. This should never again be allowed to happen and we have to do something to prevent it,” he said.
Cllr Dan Joe Fitzgerald (FF) said sulky racing should be confined to proper designated areas, while Cllr Pa O’Driscoll (FG) said he was appalled by the video.
“When I watched it on the net at first I thought it was some kind of joke. It was absolutely appalling.
“They showed total disregarded for the gardaí and were forcing oncoming motorists to go into the hard shoulder to avoid them. There are children sitting on these [horse- drawn] carts completely unsecured. If there isn’t current legislation to prevent that, it should be introduced.”
Cllr Noel O’Connor (FG) said sulky racing was happening in every town nearly every day of the week and it was “simply unacceptable”.
“This was disrespect to society in general. It must be regarded as a very, very serious incident,” Cllr Pat Burton (FG) said.
His party colleague Cllr Kevin Murphy called for “an outright ban on sulky racing on public roads” adding somebody would eventually be killed if action was not taken.
Cllr Deirdre Forde also called on the Department of the Environment to speed up its introduction of new anti-animal cruelty laws.
County manager Martin Riordan and Cllr Michael Hegarty said they would discuss the situation with gardaí at an upcoming meeting of the Cork County Joint Policing Committee.
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