Stray cattle killed after causing car pile-up on M3 motorway

Motorway was closed for three hours in both directions as gardaí dealt with incident

According to gardaí, up to five cattle were killed in the pile-up. File image: Frank Miller

According to gardaí, up to five cattle were killed in the pile-up. File image: Frank Miller

 

Stray cattle on the southbound carriageway of the M3 near Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, caused a multi-vehicle crash early on Friday morning, prompting the closure of the motorway in both directions.

The cattle are understood to have strayed onto the motorway southbound carriageway from a nearby location, believed to be a field, close to 6am. A vehicle hit an animal, followed by several other vehicles hitting several other animals.

According to gardaí, up to five cattle were killed in the pile-up.

The southbound carriageway of the motorway was closed initially at junction 7, the Skryne exit to prevent more vehicles backing up from the incident which happened was close to junction 6.

When trying to corral cattle uninjured in the crash, some cows jumped the barrier separating the carriageways and got onto the northbound carriageway prompting its closure between junction 5 and the toll plaza further north.

Traffic chaos ensued on both carriageways until the danger to drivers was removed.

Gardaí are not permitted to handle cattle - it is understood for insurance and/or health and safety reasons - and had to await for assistance from the owners.

Motorists caught up in the pile-up sustained only minor injuries but the motorway was closed for three hours in both directions, resulting in severe delays to early morning commuters.

Gardaí said they were investigating how the cattle came to be on the motorway in the first place and what the implications were for their owner.