Saturday 23 March 2019

'Don't let this happen again', says mother of sulky tragedy boy (12)

Flowers left at the scene where Sean Doyle died in a sulky accident
Flowers left at the scene where Sean Doyle died in a sulky accident

The family of a 12-year-old boy killed in an accident involving a sulky on a public road say they hope new regulations can prevent further loss of life.

Sean Doyle (12) sustained catastrophic injuries after he was thrown from the sulky - a light, two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle designed for one person - beneath the axles of an oncoming truck.

He was one of three passengers on the sulky when the accident happened on St Cuthbert's Road, Clondalkin, Dublin, nearly two years ago.


The jury at an inquest into the Clondalkin boy's death on February 26, 2016, recommended new by-laws specifically relating to the regulation and safety considerations of the use of sulky cars on public roads.

"I just hope no other child is lost in these circumstances," his mother Stacey Doyle said following the inquest.

"Sean was an amazing boy. He was the heart of our family, we miss him so much. He was full of life and fun and devilment and everyone loved him," his grandmother Mary Doyle said. "We are so glad of these recommendations. There is absolutely no way any child should be out on a sulky."

Sean's best friend, then aged 10, had received a sulky for his horse Rambo for Christmas.

Cherie Smith said her son was allowed to drive it in the yard but not on the public road.

"They were best friends. They were both mad into the horses," she said. Sean's friend was holding the reins when the horse bolted across St Cuthbert's Road. The sulky collided with an oncoming truck.

The tubular steel shaft connecting the cart to the horse's harness snapped and Sean was thrown beneath the lorry.

"The truck made a weird noise like it was letting air out and Rambo went to the opposite side of the road, he got a fright," Sean's friend said.

"The back of the truck hit us and I went up in the air and hit the ground. Sean was on the ground."

Truck driver John Pouch, a local authority worker, said there was nothing he could have done to avoid the collision.

"The horse just shot across the road and hit the truck behind the cab," he said.

Public service vehicle (PSV) inspector, Garda David O'Brien, described the sulky as a cart on a tubular steel axle with no seatbelts or side-guards.

"It's not a vehicle that should be used on a public highway," he said. Sean died from severe head injuries, the inquest jury returning a verdict of accidental death.

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