GARDAI are investigating the circumstances of a dramatic road accident, involving a loaded livestock lorry, near Athy on Sunday.
A number of cattle on the lorry were killed or injured and some had to be put down after the vehicle turned over on its side near Castlemitchell, on the Athy to Stradbally Road, shortly after 6pm.
It is understood that almost 50 store cattle, valued at an estimated E70,000, were being ferried to a farm at nearby Irishtown when the lorry came to rest partly in the front garden of a private house.
Units of the Co. Kildare Fire Service attached to stations in Athy and Newbridge attended the scene as well as officers from Newbridge.
Local people also lent a hand as the lorry was broken into to remove the stricken livestock.
“It was a frightening scene but it was a Godsend that no other vehicle was passing at the time or there could have been carnage,” local man Eddie Fennelly told the Leader.
The driver of the Northern Ireland registered lorry was taken from the scene by ambulance and it is believed he was not seriously injured. The lorry had come from County Cork, and the road was closed off for several hours.
Local people, like Mr. Fennelly, gave assistance and brought mobile lifting equipment to the scene.
“There is a bend on the road but I haven’t got a clue what caused the accident.
“I was just here to see if there was anything I could do and to provide a teleporter which we used to pull off part of the trailer and to lift some of the cattle.
“It was horrendous scene because the cattle were exhausted and frightened. It was unreal but everybody helped out,” he added.
The lorry was travelling towards Athy at the time and emergency services personnel remained at the scene until 2.30am on Monday.
Kildare County Council Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh said the accident occurred on a weekend when several fatal accidents took place nationally.
“As well as taking care themselves, road users need to be aware of the circumstances of other drivers and we want drivers to take the utmost care,” added Mr. Keogh.
- Paula O’Meara