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GoCar vehicles targeted in suspected arson attack in Dublin

NewsBy Sunday World
One of the fire damaged cars (Image via Independent.ie)
One of the fire damaged cars (Image via Independent.ie)

Two vehicles belonging to the car sharing 'GoCar' company have been targeted in a suspected arson attack in Dublin city overnight.

The cars were parked together at the junction of Malpas Street and Blackpitts in Dublin 8, not far from St Patrick's Cathedral.

Gardaí say the cars were burned out sometime between 9pm and midnight last night.

"Two males were seen running from the scene in the direction of the South Circular Road," said a spokesman.

Gardaí in Kevin Street are investigating the incident as an arson attack.

A motive for the attack is not yet known and the scene has been preserved pending a forensic examination by members of the garda technical bureau.

Both cars were towed away from the scene this morning for further analysis.

One of them was a 2014 Ford Fiesta.

GoCar has operated successfully in Dublin and Cork since its introduction in 2008.

Subscribers to the system can use the vehicles by using a swipe card to open the doors and then using a PIN number to start the car.

They then use the car at an hourly rate and get free parking in the city before returning it.

GoCar expanded to Dublin in September 2010, and is now in 32 locations in Dublin City Centre and 5 in Cork City Centre with a number of bases having multiple vehicles.

The majority of the fleet are low-emission vehicles.

Meanwhile, Dublin Fire Brigade fought a blaze beside a hotel in a laneway off Francis St, also in Dublin 8.

The blaze happened at around 11pm and is thought to have started in a bin.

There was extensive caused in the site of the blaze, as well as smoke and water damage to a charity shop on the opposite side of the lane.

Gardai cordoned off the scene.

While the investigation into the fire has only got underway it is not thought at this early stage to be related to the fire that destroyed the two cars in Blackpitts not far away.

Both fires will however be fully investigated.

UPDATE: 12.40:

GoCar Head Of Operations Jonathan Roche has issued a statement.
 
“As a small Irish business, an attack on two vehicles worth €15,000 each is obviously a huge disappointment for us, but it is an isolated incident and we’re reassured by how swiftly and thoroughly the Gardai have been dealing with it. We still have absolute confidence in the viability of car sharing in Dublin, although it is very frustrating to suffer this attack as we're a small Irish business with 6 full-time staff, and cannot afford these types of setbacks. Dublin Bikes has shown how enthusiastically Dubliners will embrace an innovative sharing service, and concerns before that service launched about damage to the bikes has been shown to be a minuscule issue.”
 
“Our number 1 goal is to provide a hassle free and convenient way to get around the city, and this is a major inconvenience to a large group of our 4,000 members. These cars are used by businesses to travel to meetings, families to go shopping or collect their children, or just go for a spin out of the city at the weekend. Without these GoCars, that’s a lot of people facing unnecessary hassle until we can get additional GoCars for them.”
 
“These 2 cars are consistently very busy, and with them off the road our members are inconvenienced and we're losing out on essential revenue. Our cars are like our shop for any small Irish store, and this attack will cause many knock-on effects for our business with a small team.”
 
“This isolated incident will not deter us from adding more vehicles to our fleet of 150 cars and vans, and we still have absolute confidence that the service will continue to grow. We’re confident the benefits of GoCar are being felt by both members and non-members, as each GoCar takes up to 14 private cars off the streets of Dublin and Cork. We have also just launched a fleet of 10 electric BMW i3s, and we’ll continue to strive towards reducing the emissions across our fleet.”
 
“GoCar will continue to grow, innovate and offer solutions to the people of Dublin and beyond who want to avail of car sharing and smart transport options.”
 
This is an ongoing investigation so we cannot currently comment any further on details of the suspected arson.