Northern Ireland news

Gardaí probe after high-speed sulky race closes Co Dublin motorway

A main motorway in Co Dublin was blocked by a sulky race early on Sunday

GARDAÍ are investigating after a sulky race blocked four lanes of a busy motorway in Co Dublin.

Video footage shows two horses and carts racing down the inbound lane of the N7 motorway at Citywest on Sunday morning.

The N7 is one of Ireland's busiest motorways and is the main link between the capital and Cork, Limerick and Waterford.

The video shows lines of cars and vans to the rear and front of the sulkies to block the road.

Several people can be seen hanging out of the driver and passenger windows of the vehicles. Other spectators standing on an overpass can be heard shouting encouragement to the racers.

It is understood the race happened at around 7.40am on Sunday.

Gardaí said they are aware of the video and have asked anyone with information to contact them.

The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) said it is "shocked and appalled" by the race and said the footage raised serious animal welfare concerns.

It said driving horses on hard road surfaces can lead to serious injuries and fatal collisions.

"The ISPCA believes that the Department of Agriculture should work with local authorities to identify safe, off-road areas for sulky users where the activity can be regulated appropriately," the charity said.

"An Garda Síochána already have sufficient powers under the Road Traffic Act to deal with the reckless and dangerous driving seen in the video and local authorities have powers to seize any horse that is not microchipped."

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Northern Ireland news