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Five gardai in hospital after cars rammed by stolen vehicles

ONE female officer narrowly escaped death after being struck by an oncoming vehicle in Ballyfermot following a night of Halloween mayhem in the capital.

One female officer narrowly escaped death after being struck by an oncoming jeep in Ballyfermot.

And in a separate incident, two gardai had their squad car rammed by a stolen vehicle.

The events marked a night of chaos for gardai, with sources believing the incidents were part of a planned operation to steal vehicles.

Two female officers -- Garda Linda Bury and Garda Sinead Connolly -- were travelling in a squad car on Blackditch Road in Ballyfermot when their vehicle collided with an oncoming jeep just before midnight.

As the officers were attending to the incident, Garda Bury was struck by another oncoming jeep which resulted in her sustaining leg injuries.

It is understood they were dealing with reports of a second stolen jeep which had crashed in the area.

As they were dealing with the matter, another jeep came along and crashed into the pair, pinning Garda Bury to the wall. She was later freed by members of the fire brigade and taken to St James's Hospital along with her colleague Garda Connolly.

She was treated in St James's Hospital for the injuries and severe shock.

Garda Connolly and a colleague who attended the scene were also treated in hospital for injuries.

The squad car was pushed on to an adjacent path and the driver's window was smashed.

One of the jeeps ripped up a tree as it crashed off the road.

Both drivers of the jeeps were arrested at the scene and were being questioned by investigating officers today.

Locals today spoke of their "shock" after learning of the late-night commotion on Blackditch Road.

Gardai sealed off the area pending a full forensic examination today.

Colleagues today said that both Garda Bury and Connolly are from the greater Dublin area, and have been serving in Ballyfermot Station for six or seven years.

Neighbours said there was a lot of commotion on the street after the incident with more than 10 squad cars and three fire brigades attending the scene.

"They arrested one guy up the road, I saw him being held on the ground lying flat on his stomach," said one man on his way to work this morning.

"It's absolutely shocking to think that such a thing could happen, anybody could have been killed," said another.

And separately in Ballyfermot, two gardai also had their squad car rammed when they attended an incident in the Croftwood Estate.

They were hit repeatedly by a stolen car -- a Mitsubishi Pajero -- and were taken to St James's Hospital. It is believed their injuries are not serious.

A source told the Herald this morning that gardai and Dublin Fire Brigade received intelligence before Halloween warning them to stay out of specific estates in Ballyfermot and Clondalkin on Halloween. Their reports indicated that a group of youths planned to steal vehicles and use them to "ram-raid" gardai last night.

"It was absolute carnage in Ballyfermot last night. Four cars were reported stolen. Intelligence received suggests that gardai and members of the Dublin Fire Brigade were targeted," the source said.

Four vehicles were reported stolen last night.

A fourth jeep was burnt outside the County Bar on Decies Road in Ballyfermot.