At least seven people were injured, including two critically, after a car driven by a priest crashed into a group of mourners attending a funeral in west Dubli n.
An eyewitness described how several people became trapped under the car at the Church of Immaculate Conception in Clondalkin yesterday morning.
It is understood the driver, Fr Denis Foley, suffered a medical emergency before crashing.
Fr Daly, the former parish priest of the Assumption Parish in Walkinstown, retired several years ago.
Witness and mourner Larry Noonan said people jumped out of the way to avoid the collision.
Mr Noonan, from Blackrock in south Dublin, said: “There was about 200 people standing around waiting for the hearse to arrive when there was a rumble of noise, it sounded like the church was collapsing, the sound was unbelievable and then we saw people rushing back.
“It was only about 20 feet away from me – it was packed with people – and then we discovered it was a car and people were underneath it. I believe there was about eight people injured.
“Some people were very seriously injured. People were trying to lift the car, but it was jammed against the wall. The emergency services were there reasonably quickly.
“It was an awful shock, you wouldn’t expect it at a funeral. People were all standing around outside the church when it happened.”
Metres from crash
Maureen McNulty, who was attending a social club at the church grounds, said she was just metres away from the crash.
“First I heard a bang, then everybody running. I walked over to see and saw all the bodies on the ground,” she said. “The priest sort of fell on to the passenger side, there was people looking after him . . . It was a terrible shock, absolutely horrendous.
“I’m just grateful, I could have been in that crowd,” Ms McNulty added.
Gardaí said the driver of the car became ill and then struck the group which had gathered outside the church for the funeral. The funeral was deferred for a number of hours.
Former Olympic boxer Michael Carruth and Fianna Fáil TD John Curran were among the mourners who witnessed the crash.
“I was at the church door when I could hear the commotion and I looked around and the car had obviously got out of control and driven into a group of people,” Mr Curran said.
“I saw a number of people lying on the ground under the car. It had driven against the wall so the people were caught and trapped under the vehicle at the wall.
“Everybody rushed to help and called the emergency services.
“No one could get the person out from under the vehicle, they were afraid to move anyone because it was quite serious.
“There was absolute shock. It happened just before 10am when the hearse was coming around the village. People were visibly shocked by it.”
A statement from the Archdiocese of Dublin said the priests and staff of the parish of the Immaculate Conception in Clondalkin wished to express their sympathies to those injured in the incident.
“They are keeping all involved in their prayers at this difficult time,” it said.
“Parish staff worked closely with emergency services in the aftermath of the incident to assist where they could. Gardaí are actively investigating the incident and it is not possible to make further comment while their inquiries continue.”
In a statement, gardaí said: “Gardaí and emergency services are at the scene of a collision at a church in Clondalkin Village, Dublin, at approximately 10.20am.
“It’s understood the driver of a car fell ill and struck a number of pedestrians on the grounds of a church.
“One person has been taken to James Connolly Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. Two have been taken to James St Hospital and one taken to Tallaght Hospital.”
Gardaí in Clondalkin are investigating. They said the investigation is at an early stage.