GoSafe operator escapes after his van is set alight
Gardai anxious to speak with suspects after a third speed camera van attacked by arsonists
Published 10/04/2011 | 05:00
A speed camera operator had to flee from his van after thugs torched it in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The attack on the speed van happened just after 3am on the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal.
The van, which was located at Cashel on the main Carndonagh to Quigley's Point Road, is one of a number operated locally by a private company 'GoSafe', which has a national contract with the Government.
Gardai spent most of the day at the scene of the attack yesterday looking for clues as to the identity of the arsonists.
The country's worst ever road accident occurred on the Inishowen Peninsula on July 12 last year, when eight men lost their lives in a two-car collision outside Clonmany.
Garda Supt Eugene McGovern revealed they are anxious to speak to two men, wearing bright hoodie-tops, who were driving a blue Peugeot Boxer-type van with a 10 LK registration about the incident.
They also want to speak to the driver of a white Transit van who was seen driving slowly past the speed van before it burst into flames.
"Two people exited their own vehicle and approached the front of the GoSafe vehicle.
"When they left to get back into their car and to drive away, suddenly the GoSafe vehicle went up in flames. The operative had to make an emergency exit for his own safety," Garda McGovern said.
"There were a lot of people driving by this area at the time and no doubt somebody saw something suspicious and may be able to help us with our enquiries," he added.
This is the third attack on a GoSafe van, with previous vans being set ablaze in both Wexford and Louth.
Yesterday's attack has been condemned by local Fianna Fail TD Charlie McConalogue who said nobody had the right to attack someone simply doing their job.
"Everyone has to condemn it and it is absolutely shocking that someone would carry out an attack like this.
"To set fire to a van while someone is inside it doing their duty is absolutely wrong.
"Speed cameras may not be universally popular but they are there for a reason and that is to try and bring about a further reduction in our road deaths," he said.
The attack comes following messages posted on social networking sites in recent days which warned of a possible attack.
The message was posted on a site dedicated to alerting motorists to speed vans across the country.
One Donegal-based poster warned "Burn them all out. They make me want to return to my f***** arson days!
"Saw one burnt out in Dublin, what a pretty site [sic]. One down, countless to go . . ."