Two Dundalk-based paramedics narrowly escaped injury on Sunday night when a missile was hurled at an ambulance returning from an emergency call out.
The ambulance was struck by a concrete brick just after 11pm on the Castletown Road near the railway bridge, when advanced paramedic Pat Smyth was driving towards Bridge Street.
'We had just cleared an emergency,' said Pat, who was travelling back to the ambulance base at the Louth County Hospital with his colleague 'when something was thrown at the vehicle'.
He said that the missile appeared to have come from the direction where a group of youths were standing on the footpath.
'Luckily it hit the main body of the vehicle on the driver's side so it just bounced off. If it had hit on the other side there is a glass panel, so it would definitely have gone straight into the back of the ambulance.'
Pat pointed out that it was fortunate they were not transporting a patient to hospital at the time, as they would likely have sustained injury.
The vehicle did sustain some damage, and the paramedics went to the garda station to report the incident.
Ambulance base duty officer John Tuite condemned the attack saying 'it is very lucky that the two guys weren't injured'.
He said that although there had been some minor incidents in the past where emergency vehicles were accidentally damaged, this was the first time a missile had been deliberately thrown at an ambulance.
Dundalk Town Councillor Mark Dearey described it as 'a very serious incident that could have led to loss of life'.
He added that there could be an issue for the council to improve lighting underneath the bridge, as it was a poorly-lit location where youths were prone to congregating.
Condemning those responsible for the attack, he appealed to anyone who had information to contact gardaí who are investigating.