GARDAI conducting routine city centre traffic duties during a farm protest were left red-faced when their patrol car broke down – and giggling protesters had to push-start the vehicle.
The incident, which occurred last Saturday on Cork's Grand Parade, has become an internet hit after video footage of the hilarious reaction by protesters was posted online.
The patrol car, a 2007-registered Opel Vectra, stopped without warning in the middle of the road just 50m in front of the protest march.
Desperate efforts by the garda driver to get the vehicle restarted failed.
The march, supported by about 100 people, was organised to protest against genetically modified food trials, which are planned for Ireland.
As protesters reached the stranded patrol car, they realised the garda driver was having car trouble.
A dozen protesters, joined by a few pedestrians, immediately offered to help push the patrol car in a bid to get it started.
To giggles and laughter from other protesters, the patrol car is then energetically pushed about 40m down the road in a vain attempt to get it started.
The video clip, shot by Denis O'Sullivan on his camera phone, captured the laughter of shoppers and protesters alike as the garda traffic corps officer desperately tries to maintain a stoic pose in the car.
"What a surprise lads ... where the people have to push the police," one protester is captured on video chuckling.
Ultimately, the protest has to proceed around either side of the stranded patrol car.
The vehicle later had to be towed by a recovery vehicle to a garda pound for engine repairs.
As for Denis, he simply described the impromptu clip as: "A little gem."