STABLE staff have welcomed the new road safety signage and lights beside the Curragh Training Grounds. Roughly €80,000 has been spent on the wind and solar-powered system in a bid to prevent injuries to horses and riders.
Ger Flynn, chairman of the Irish Stablestaff Association, said: “Road safety was brought to our attention by stable staff who, every morning, were putting their lives and the lives of their horses at risk, dodging cars, vans and trucks, as they entered and exited the training grounds.
“Unfortunately some road users can’t comprehend that horses don’t have brakes or indicators, and can spook at the slightest sound or sudden movement.
“To get to any gallop on the Curragh horses have to cross a road, so all we are asking is that road users slow down for that minute or two and enjoy these wonderful, majestic animals - something that has been part of the Curragh for hundreds of years.”
Paddy Curran of the Irish Stablestaff Association said the problem is most acute between 8am and 9.15am, when traffic is heaviest on the roads running along the back of the racecourse grandstand and into Kildare town.
“I’ve seen horseboxes stop on the road at the entrance to the schooling ground, allowing horses and riders a chance to exit, only for cars to overtake the horsebox at speed, oblivious to the emerging horses and riders,” Curran said.
Local officials who came to inspect the area saw the danger at first-hand and agreed to pay for the signage and lights, which are similar to those in operation in Newmarket.
Flynn added: “Thanks to Kildare County Council, in particular Brenda Cruddy who was instrumental in making sure that the team got the correct result for everyone. Local councillor Suzanne Doyle visited many sites on the Curragh with the team and gained a great understanding of how important it is for riders and drivers to get along to keep everyone safe.”