Representatives of My Lovely Horse Rescue and Dublin’s carriage drivers have delivered a letter to Minister for Transport Shane Ross at the Dail over Ireland’s Victorian laws on horse-drawn carriages.

The current laws on horse-drawn carriages in the city centre leaves the drivers of the carriages in a legal limbo, leading to the drivers calling for a repeal of older laws.

Drivers are asking for Minister Ross to enable Dublin City Council to draft new and improved bye-laws to allow for the driving of such carriages in the capital.

New bye-laws were introduced in 2011 by DCC; however, licences for the carriages ceased being issued by the council after it was discovered that Victorian Acts, known as the Dublin Carriages Acts, 1853, 1854 and 1855 still exist.

This was discovered in a Transportation committee meeting of DCC last September following a question asked by Cllr Deirdre Heney (FF).

Bye-laws may not be made by local authorities where powers exist elsewhere in legislation, meaning responsibility for licences in Dublin may no longer rest with the council.

Drivers who appeared at the Dail to deliver the letter said that under the old Victorian laws, when they presented to renew their driver and carriage licences, they were told that licences were not being renewed or issued at present.

My Lovely Horse Rescue support the drivers’ efforts, and in conjunction with the drivers, would like to see stronger laws in place to ensure the horse, harness, driver and carriage are fully assessed, ensuring a better service for customers and high welfare standards for all of Dublin’s carriage horses.

The congregation met Deputies Joan Collins (Ind 4 Change) and Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind), Cllrs Deirdre Heney (FF) and Cieran Perry (Ind) and were supported by Cllrs Criona Ni Dhalaigh (SF) and Mannix Flynn (Ind) in their efforts to have the ancient laws tackled.

The letter from the group will be conveyed to the Minister by Joan Collins TD and Cllr Deirdre Heney will convey a copy to Owen Keegan, chief executive of DCC.

My Lovely Horse Rescue have said that they have requested on numerous occasions to meet the Minister, but no meeting has taken place.

When contacted by Dublin Gazette, Minister for Transport Shane Ross said: “While these matters should normally be managed at local government level, I am actively investigating this matter.

“I required that my Department engage with An Garda Siochana and Dublin City Council and seek separate legal advice if necessary.

“Depending on the outcome, there may be a requirement to amend or repeal legislation in order to ensure an appropriate, modern regulatory framework is in place.”