Several people were injured when a man drove his car through St. Patrick's Cemetery in Dundalk on Sunday

A man is in police custody in Dundalk, Co Louth after driving a car through crowds of people during the annual blessing of the graves at St. Patrick's Cemetery.

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The Irish Times reports that hundreds of people had gathered at St. Patrick’s Cemetery for the annual blessing of the graves when the incident occurred on July 21.

One bystander, Simon Conroy, told The Irish Times that shortly after the service had begun, the suspect drove into the cemetery and then accelerated towards the podium. After colliding with a number of people, the car turned around and sped back out of the area.

Conroy said: “The car’s engine revved loudly as it drove towards the stage set up at the front of the service, and the collision appeared intentional.”

Conroy said the incident was “very frightening,” adding: “There were a lot of children crying, it was frightening. In the moments afterwards there was a lot of confusion.”

On Twitter, RTE shared a video of the incident:

A man has been taken to hospital after being struck by a car in St Patrick's Cemetery in Dundalk Co Louth this afternoon, during the annual blessing of the graves. |

— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 21, 2019

The suspect is understood to have driven back out to the main road and collided with several parked cars before coming to a stop. The driver was arrested on the scene.

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Afterward, Dundalk Gardai said in a statement: “A man in his late 20s, believed to be the driver was arrested at the scene. He is currently detained at Dundalk Garda station under the provisions of Section 4 - Criminal Justice Act 1984.”

A number of people were injured in the incident, though none are thought to have suffered life-threatening injuries. One man was transported to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda after he struck his head when he fell to the ground. 

Father Mark O’Hagan, of St. Patrick’s Parish in Dundalk, told The Irish Times he was “left shaking” after the incident.

“I was on the podium and it was near the end of the service when I heard screaming and shouting. I looked to my left and could see people running, screaming and shouting.”

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Fr O’Hagan promptly rang the police and told them that “there is a mad man in the graveyard flying through at speed.”

“It was a worst nightmare, it was just frightful,” said the priest.