Part 19 of the Local Government Act 2001 provides a general power to a local authority to make bye-laws in relation to its own property or services or to regulate matters of local concern. It is under this Act that local authorities can choose to regulate horse-drawn carriages that operate for hire or reward. Some local authorities develop bye-laws to licence horse-drawn carriages operating commercially. Through bye-laws, these local authorities set their own rules and stipulations to govern such operations.
In February 2011, Dublin City Council (DCC) took over responsibility for the licensing of horse-drawn carriage operators and drivers from the Garda Carriage Office. DCC made bye-laws in the same year for the licensing of horse-drawn carriages under the Local Government Act, 2001.
In 2018 DCC became aware that - specifically in relation to Dublin - this legal basis for making such bye-laws could be uncertain, as the Dublin Carriage Acts 1853-55 had vested the power to regulate horse-drawn carriages in Dublin with the Dublin Metropolitan Police Commissioners, to whom An Garda Síochána is the successor.
My Department examined this issue and, following legal advice, is now of the view that the Dublin Carriage Acts 1853-55 remain in force and preclude DCC from enacting the relevant bye-laws. Also, it seems that a simple repeal of the Victorian legislation alone may not be sufficient to enable DCC to enact bye-laws for horse-drawn carriages. Therefore, my Department is now working with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to identify how best to empower DCC to regulate this area.