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'People were screaming and crying' - seven injured after driver 'falls ill' and strikes pedestrians at funeral

At least four people were hospitalised in the aftermath of the incident at the Immaculate Conception Church in Clondalkin at 10.20am.

Updated Jun 25th 2018, 12:44 PM

Car hits pedestrians in Clondalkin A cordon surrounds a car which struck a number of attendees at a funeral in Clondalkin this morning Source: RollingNews.ie

SEVEN PEOPLE ARE believed to have been injured, two critically, after a driver struck multiple pedestrians outside a funeral in west Dublin this morning.

It’s understood that the driver was a priest who was involved in the funeral and fell ill prior to the incident. The Archdiocese of Dublin has been contacted for comment.

At least four people have been hospitalised – one person has been taken to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown with minor injuries. Two others were taken to St James’s Hospital, and one to Tallaght Hospital.

The incident happened outside the Immaculate Conception Church on New Road in Clondalkin at about 10.20am. A funeral was due to take place at the church at 10am.

The funeral was postponed in the aftermath of the incident, and recommenced at 1pm. The car involved remains at the scene.

Gardaí now say that they understand the driver of the car ‘fell ill’ immediately prior to the incident.

All told, approximately 13 people were treated at the scene by emergency services.

One local who was in attendance described the scene as “shocking”, and said that people had been trapped under the car in the wake of the accident.

“It happened as I arrived, and there were people trapped under the car, and just from listening to people they said it was (the driver) who took a heart attack and crashed into people. It’s really shocking, to see the people trapped and the injuries involved, it really was shocking,” he said.

“The emergency services were coming in the gate, and people were screaming and crying, things like that you know. The whole village was closed off, the hearse had to continue up the road to let people in.”

Another local, Maureen McNulty, said that “people thought it was a bomb, that’s how loud it was”.

“There was one man caught underneath the car, and another caught at the front. A lot of men tried to lift the car off him and couldn’t do it, so they had to let car back down again,” she said.

She said that she rang for an ambulance, and said that she thought about nine people had been injured.

“The place was littered with people on the ground. I just said you’re going to need a half dozen ambulances. It was so frightening,” she said.

“There were people running everywhere. The driver sort of fell in the passenger seat, and then there were people looking after him. There were a lot of people just slightly injured, but in terrible shock,” she added.

McNulty said that she was lucky as she “has a number of things wrong with me” and uses a walking stick.

I’m just grateful I’m ok – I could have been in that crowd.

Larry Mooney, who was attending the funeral and was inside the church when the incident happened, said “it sounded like the church collapsed, it was unbelievable how loud it was”.

“You could see people all lying under the car, some people were trapped. One man just his fingers injured but other people were very seriously injured. One man was trapped underneath the car and they tried to lift the car but they couldn’t lift it.”

Eight ambulances were requested to attend the scene along with four fire appliances, a rescue tender and a Dublin Fire Brigade district officer.

Dublin Fire Brigade earlier described the situation as ‘developing’, and appealed for the public to avoid the scene as it attempts to get rescue vehicles in and out of the area.

Roads are closed in the area and diversions are in place.

The priests and staff of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception in Clondalkin said they wish to express their sympathies to the people injured in the incident, and that “they are keeping all involved in their prayers at this difficult time”.

Parish staff worked closely with emergency services in the aftermath of the incident to assist where they could.

Local councillor Emer Higgins meanwhile described the incident as being “absolutely terrible”, a “terrifying ordeal for all those involved”.

“My thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by this shocking event, in particular those in hospital who I hope will make full recoveries,” she said.

With reporting by Gráinne Ní Aodha in Clondalkin

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