Gardaí investigate Dana tyre blowout


Gardaí are investigating a suspicious tyre blowout on a vehicle used by presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon.

Ms Scallon today claimed she was lucky to be alive after the incident which occurred near the M4 toll bridge near Kilcock, Co Kildare at about 9pm last night.

Her husband Damien, who was driving her to Dublin, lost control of  the car, which was travelling at about 100km/h, when it suffered the blowout. She was asleep in the back at the time of the incident.

Her campaign team has claimed the tyre appears to have been punctured up to 15 times.

A Garda spokesman said a report of alleged criminal damage was being investigated. Gardaí in Carrick-on-Shannon are examining CCTV footage of when and where the car was parked while in Leitrim.

Ms Scallon said those travelling in the vehicle had a very lucky escape. “It was very scary to look at,” Ms Scallon said. “I think we are all very lucky to be here today. I never start a journey without saying a little prayer and I think we are all very lucky.”

The campaign car, a Peugeot 508 emblazoned with Dana posters, had been parked outside the Landmark Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, for several hours earlier in the day, while Ms Scallon canvassed.

There were four people in the car including a cousin of Ms Scallon's and her brother Gerald Brown. Mr Brown and Mr Scallon had swapped driving duties at a service station shortly after the toll plaza and neither reported noticing the car handling unusually. It had been raining along the motorway.

Mr Scallon said when the tyre blew he first swerved to avoid a lorry in front and a car behind before struggling to regain control and stop safely on the hard shoulder.

“It was quite a terrifying, horrifying moment,” he said. “When you see the tyre it kind of sends home to us what were they trying to do - injure us or murder us? Along with doing that, they could have killed someone else.”

An AA roadside recovery team were called out and changed the tyre before the team continued their journey to Dublin.

“We had no idea until today it was as serious as it is,” Mr Scallon said. “The AA man really examined the tyre and said he had never seen anything like it. He said ‘I’m not an expert but it looks like it has been interfered with. There’s no explanation for it’.”

Additional reporting: PA