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Gardaí satisfied as ‘only’ 58 arrests made at Donegal International Rally

“In terms of arrests, there were 58 arrests in Letterkenny district from Thursday evening right through to this morning and taking into account the volume of traffic and number of people in the area, that’s as good as we could expect.”
Josh Moffett in the Donegal International Rally

Josh Moffett in the Donegal International Rally

Neasa Cumiskey

The Donegal International Rally was hailed a success by gardaí as "considerably” fewer arrests were made compared to previous years.

Ireland’s biggest motorsport event took place over the weekend where hundreds of spectators flocked to Letterkenny to watch Monaghan man Josh Moffett emerge victorious.

Despite the large crowds, arrest figures were “considerably down on other years” as gardaí arrested just 58 people between Thursday night and Monday morning, compared to 86 people in 2019.

Head of the Traffic Corps in Donegal, Inspector Seamus McGonigle, said that this was due to increased planning and “sufficient resources.”

“From a policing perspective, it went very well. There were huge crowds in the town and huge crowds all over the north of the county,” he told Highland Radio.

“In terms of arrests, there were 58 arrests in Letterkenny district from Thursday evening right through to this morning and taking into account the volume of traffic and number of people in the area, that’s as good as we could expect.

“I know there were occasions of dangerous driving but I don’t think the volume of those incidents was anything like other years.

“I think that’s a reflection on the amount of planning that went into it... We had sufficient resources to cover every eventuality. I think that paid off in the end.”

Of the 58 arrests made, Inspector McGonigle estimates that between around 20 to 25 were public order arrests.

“Again, when you take the number of people who were out socialising over the weekend, that’s actually a very small number of arrests.

“On an ordinary weekend, you could have a dozen arrests so 25 over the weekend is really quite an acceptable figure,” he said before adding: “There were no major incidents directly involved with the rally, and that’s what we all wanted.”

It comes after a man was charged with cutting wires in a racing car belonging to a competitor at the Donegal International Rally.

John Crothers (62), with an address at Ballynashee Road, Glenwherry, Ballymena, County Antrim, appeared before the Letterkenny District Court on Saturday evening.

He was faced with three charges over an alleged incident at Ballyraine, Letterkenny, on Saturday.

Crothers was accused of cutting the fuel pump switch, the fan switch, and three wires to the rev limiter and the safety switch of a classic Ford Escort, belonging to driver Richard Hall.

The court heard that Crothers intended “to damage such property or being reckless as to whether such property would be damaged”.

He was also charged with threatening to damage to Mr Hall’s classic rally car.

Bail was granted with a number of conditions attached. The accused lodged €495 in cash bail. Crothers had to provide Gardaí with a phone number on which he can be contacted. He is not permitted to interfere with or contact, directly or indirectly, Mr Hall or interfere with any of his equipment.

Judge Éiteáin Cunningham adjourned the case until September 5.


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