Traffic chaos as ‘singing and dancing’ woman stops car in middle of motorway

Witnesses look on in disbelief as woman leaves car before singing ‘Come Out Ye Black and Tans’

Gardaí said a  female motorist was arrested on the M18 this evening on suspicion of driving under the influence. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Gardaí said a female motorist was arrested on the M18 this evening on suspicion of driving under the influence. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

 

A woman who brought rush-hour traffic to a standstill this afternoon by stopping her car in the middle of a busy motorway before allegedly starting to dance while singing republican songs has been arrested.

The incident happened shortly after 5pm in the northbound lanes of the M18 in Co Clare between the Newmarket on Fergus and Dromoland interchanges.

The woman is reported to have been “very intoxicated” and was allegedly singing and dancing in the motorway, refusing to allow traffic pass.

According to eye-witnesses the woman, believed to be in her 50s, stopped her car on the centre white line between two lanes of traffic before stepping out of her car and starting to sing “republican songs”.

“She just stopped right in front of us right in the middle of the road. I thought she hit something. Then, she got out of the car and started dancing and singing. I was driving home from work with a colleague and we just looked at each other in disbelief,” one motorist said.

Traffic was left backed up for several kilometres while multiple calls were made to the emergency services. Congestion was also reported in nearby Newmarket on Fergus as traffic was diverted off the motorway at junction 10 to take an alternative route.

Gardaí, National Ambulance Service paramedics and several units of Clare County Fire and Rescue Service from Shannon Town responded.

According to another eye-witness: “She was singing ‘Come Out Ye Black and Tans’ and dancing around the place. Then she just lay down in the overtaking lane and refused to get up. She could have been asleep.”

It is understood a passing ambulance stopped to assist the woman but she could not be transported as there was already a patient on board. Another ambulance was dispatched to the scene.

More than hour after the incident began, the woman was arrested at the scene and brought to Shannon Garda station. The motorway reopened at around 6.15pm but it took some time for the traffic jams to clear.

A Garda spokesperson confirmed: “A female motorist was arrested at the scene on suspicion of driving under the influence.”