Independent presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon has claimed she is lucky to be alive after her campaign car suffered a tyre blow-out on a motorway.
Dana was asleep in the back seat, with her husband Damien driving, when he suddenly lost control at about 100kph, several miles from the M4 toll, on the way to Dublin last night.
Her campaign team has claimed the tyre appears to have been punctured up to 15 times, not consistent with a standard blow-out.
Dana’s legal team are making statements to Gardaí.
“When I looked at it, it was very scary to look at,” Dana said.
“I think we are all very lucky to be here today. I never start a journey without saying a little prayer and I think we are all very lucky.
“As far as I’m concerned it was a very lucky escape.”
The incident happened at around 9pm last night near Kilcock, Co Kildare.
The campaign car, a Peugeot 508 emblazoned with Dana posters, had been parked outside the Landmark Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, for several hours earlier in the day. It has 20,000 miles on the clock.
There were four people in the car including a cousin of Dana’s and her brother Gerald Brown.
Mr Brown and Mr Scallon had swapped driving duties at a service station shortly after the toll plaza and neither reported noticing the car handling unusually. It had been raining along the motorway.
Mr Scallon said when the tyre blew he first swerved to avoid a lorry in front and a car behind before struggling to regain control and stop safely on the hard shoulder.
“It was quite a terrifying, horrifying moment,” he said.
“When you see the tyre it kind of sends home to us what were they trying to do - injure us or murder us? Along with doing that, they could have killed someone else.”
Dana had been campaigning in the west yesterday after a TG4 leader’s debate, with her last engagements in Carrick-on-Shannon.
An AA roadside recovery team were called out and changed the tyre before Dana and her team returned to Dublin late last night.
Mr Scallon said: “We had no idea until today it was as serious as it is.
“The AA man really examined the tyre and said he had never seen anything like it.
“He said ’I’m not an expert but it looks like it has been interfered with. There’s no explanation for it’.”
Dana cancelled her morning engagements today.