'I didn't know what happened' - family forced to evacuate home after learner driver crashes through house
A family in Dublin has been forced to evacuate their home after a learner driver mounted the pavement and crashed through the front of their house.
The walls at the front of the terraced house on St Aongus Road in Tallaght Co Dublin collapsed in after the car crashed through the wall of the front living room shortly before 2pm today.
Tony Valentine, who lives in the house with wife Siobhan and their three young children, was sitting in the front room when the collision happened.
He said he was "shocked" when he realised what had happened.
"I heard a bang and the next thing the wall and the front room door came down on top of me, I didn’t know what was happening," he said.
"I just came out then and I was still in my socks walking through the hallway and saw there was a car sitting in the driveway."
Mr Valentine said a woman emerged from the car, who was believed to be on a driving lesson, and was in total shock at what had happened.
"There was a learner driver and the car had broken down... and then the car just shot off."
Crews from Dublin Fire Brigade attended the scene of the crash which happened shortly before 2pm.
Builders from Dublin City Council have also attended the property and boarded it up, while the family is to be housed in a hotel until it is deemed safe to return.
The family’s three kids returned to school this week following the Christmas holidays leaving Siobhan and Tony relieved that they were not around when it happened.
"I was so worried about the house and I’m only glad it wasn’t last Thursday when the kids were in holidays because they often play in the garden and things could be so much worse.
"I’ve a seven-year-old, an eight-year-old and a 10-year-old and they play in and out of the garden with the neighbours kids," he added.
"You can see the bikes which were sitting at the front of the house so if you’re to take anything good out of it’s that they weren’t here."
Siobhan’s father, Liam Kenny, said his was terrified at the thought that his grandchildren could have been playing in the garden when the incident happened.
"This day last week there would have been a group of kids playing – my grandchildren – and only they were at school this could have been a whole different story.
"At the end of the day this is just property damage and it can all be put right and in a few months time we’ll all look back on this as just a bad memory.
"We won’t be missing any relatives and it could have been so much worse," he added.
Mr Kenny said driving instructors often brought learner drivers to the area on lessons and said greater care should be taken because of the amount of young families with children playing on the nearby green.
"This is a residential area they cannot be doing driving lessons around here. It’s all the time and never stops around here.
"And learner drivers being instructed in an area where there is kids playing all around them just makes no sense.
"I’m always worried about it particularly in the summer when the kids are playing in the green.
"Two doors down there’s a wall that was knocked down twice and there’s a lot of joyriding goes on around here too."