Driver arrested after car speeds into crowds at Irish cemetery

Telegraph Reporters
Image taken with permission from a video posted on twitter by @Simonc46176551 of the scene in St Patrick's cemetery, Dowdallshill in Dundalk - PA

A grandfather has been seriously injured as a car drove at speed through a cemetery, as thousands of people attended an annual blessing of the graves service.

The elderly man was among a number of people hurt in the "terrifying" incident at St Patrick's Cemetery in Co Louth, the parish priest said.

Police said a man aged in his 20s, who is believed to be the driver, was arrested at the scene in Dowdallshill, Dundalk, on Sunday afternoon.

The injured man was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, while a "small number of people received superficial injuries", Gardai said.

Footage posted online showed emergency services in attendance as a large crowd gathered - said by Fr Mark O'Hagan to have been thousands - in the cemetery.

Image taken with permission from a video posted on twitter by @Simonc46176551 of the scene in St Patrick's cemetery, Dowdallshill in Dundalk Credit: PA

The priest said: "I could hear this screaming and shouting. And there was a lot of people running and a lot of people screaming."

The driver sped through the graveyard past the priest towards a car park before driving back towards him and mounting the kerb, Fr O'Hagan said.

He added: "I tried to wave at him to try and slow him down or stop him.

"He sped on straight through the people again. It was terrifying."

Sinn Fein councillor Ruairi O Murchu, who was not at the event but spoke to some people who were, said: "They were utterly shocked. People are angry. There had been a huge amount of young kids there at the time.

"People who were very close to where the car sped through were jumping aside."

When the car exited the cemetery, it collided with parked cars on the road before stopping, police said.

Gardai said: "A man in his late 20s, believed to the driver, was arrested at the scene. He is currently detained at Dundalk Garda Station under the provisions of Section 4 - Criminal Justice Act 1984."

The force appealed for witnesses, especially anyone with video footage of the incident, to get in touch.