The scene at the roundabout in Ballyshannon where a car crashed through the barriers on Sunday night Picture: Thomas Gallagher
Dozens of festival goers had a lucky escape from serious injury when a car that was being followed by gardaí ploughed into railings close to music fans attending a popular festival.
The incident happened during the Rory Gallagher International Festival in Ballyshannon on Sunday night.
Dozens of people were in the vicinity when the car lost control and struck railings at the roundabout on the Belleek Road.
The car entered the roundabout and struck railings about 50 metres from the festival marquee where music was being played.
Two people, a man and a woman, were arrested at the scene. The driver of the car, a man in his late 30s from Co Tyrone, is due to appear at a special sitting of Sligo District Court in connection with the incident.
The car was driving at speed from Finner Hill without lights on towards Ballyshannon when it was observed by gardaí on mobile patrol at 10.45pm.
The Garda patrol car followed the car towards Ballyshannon. A spokesman at Ballyshannon Garda station said the car took off at speed.
Gardaí observed several incidents of dangerous driving including dangerous overtaking which involved vehicles in the opposite lane having to avoid the car.
The car entered Ballyshannon on the wrong side of the road, lost control at the roundabout and crashed into railings.
The driver of the car and a passenger were arrested at the scene.
“There was quite a lot of people in the area at the time,” the Garda spokesman said.
“It was lucky there were not as many people around as usual due to the weather. It was very lucky. There could have been fatalities.”
Eyewitnesses said that very heavy rain at the time meant there were fewer people at the
roundabout when the collision occurred than any other time during the festival.
The Donegal Democrat spoke to witnesses who said it was the only time of the night that the section of railings where the car struck did not have people standing behind it. It was a miracle no one was hit by the car, one witness who declined to be named said.
Two sections of railings that were damaged in the incident had been removed morning.
The Belleek Road was closed for a time and diversions were put in place as emergency services dealt with the incident. It is understood the occupants of the car did not sustain serious injury.