Saturday 17 August 2019

Grandfather in serious condition after being struck by car in graveyard as gardai probe if vehicle was stolen

The scene in St Patrick's cemetery, Dowdallshill in Dundalk, where several people have been injured after a car was driven into a crowd. Photo: PA
The scene in St Patrick's cemetery, Dowdallshill in Dundalk, where several people have been injured after a car was driven into a crowd. Photo: PA

Elaine Keogh and Gabija Gataveckaite

The elderly man injured after being struck by a car in a graveyard in Dundalk yesterday remains in a serious condition.

He is now in the Beaumont Hospital, Dublin where he has undergone treatment for a head injury.

He hit his head when he fell to the ground in St Patrick’s cemetery during the Blessing of the Graves after being struck by the car.

Gardai now believe the car was stolen by the man who drove it at speed through the graveyard where thousands of people, many who were elderly, as well as families, had gathered.

It had been parked in the graveyard earlier in the afternoon.

The injured man is in his 70s and a grandfather.  He was initially treated by the Order of Malta before paramedics arrived and then went by ambulance to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

He was transferred to Beaumont hospital overnight where it is understood he has undergone a procedure.

One of those in the cemetery was Louth deputy Peter Fitzpatrick (Ind) who said that at one point he was less than 20 feet from the car.

He was there with family member when he said, "there was a bang and smoke and a car came out from the crowd at very very high speeds, took a sharp turn and headed towards the graveyard."

He said children started to cry and people started to panic.

"Then all of  a sudden we thought it had stopped and about 15-20 seconds later it came down the far side of the graveyard at a very very high speed."

He said at one point he could clearly see the driver, "he was 15-20 feet from me, he looked like a man possessed."

"It is a miracle that nobody was killed. This man had no respect for anybody and in fairness, it is the closest thing I have ever seen to attempted murder. I hope to never experience anything like that again."

"The speed he was going at you would not see in a Starsky and Hutch film," he added.

Fr Mark O’Hagan who was officiating at the service, anointed the injured man at the scene and this morning said that for those there, it was frightening and, “I could see fear in their eyes and faces and total disbelief.”

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Conor Keelan was visiting his mother’s grave when he saw smoke emerging from the car park.

“All of a sudden we noticed smoke,” he said.

“We saw a crowd of people looking at what was happening. The car actually drove through a crowd of people,” he added.

“Eye witnesses then started to panic and there was shock and fear.”

Online Editors

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