Gardaí are expected to question a number of people about dangerous driving, endangerment and cruelty to animals after a group of 60 Travellers took over a main road to stage a sulky race.
Innocent motorists witnessed extraordinary scenes as they came upon the race last Saturday morning, which was staged on the main Cork-Mallow road (N20).
On several occasions those racing Russian Ladie and Christy’s Fillie were travelling on the wrong side of the road between the Blarney and the Whitechurch junctions.
Cars and vans following the race were seen at times driving northbound four abreast, forcing oncoming vehicles to take evasive action and swerve onto the hard shoulder.
Gardaí were alerted by concerned members of the public at around 7am last Saturday.
Two patrol cars arrived on the scene and made sustained attempts to halt the men racing the sulkys.
However, the Travellers ignored them and kept going until one of the sulkys eventually pulled over.
At one stage, people videoing the race from a 4x4 drove up the wrong side of the road to get better pictures.
They had to drive against the flow of traffic up the hard shoulder to narrowly avoid being hit by an oncoming truck.
Eventually, the heavily outnumbered gardaí were able to arrest a man in his late 20s who was taken to Gurranabraher Garda Station for questioning.
Superintendent Con Cadogan said gardaí were treating the incident “very seriously” and it was fortunate that no one had been killed or seriously injured.
“We are treating this very seriously indeed. These people had no regard for other users. They were putting people’s lives at risk, including those in the Garda Siochána,” Supt Cadogan said.
Gardaí have downloaded a YouTube video of the race and have already identified many of the people involved. Up to yesterday nearly 100,000 people had viewed the video.
Supt Cadogan said in the coming days he expected that a number of people would be arrested in connection with the ongoing investigation: “We have already spoken to a number of people who witnessed what happened, but we would like to speak to more. I can assure you that a full file will be sent to the DPP.”
He urged people who witnessed the race to contact Blarney Garda Station at (021) 4385111.
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