Someone is trying to murder Dana, claims husband after tyre blowout
But experts say damage from driving on flat tyre
The husband of Irish presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon has claimed that a tyre on their campaign car was deliberately damaged in an attempt to “injure or murder us”.
Last night the allegation by Damien Scallon was being fully investigated by police in the Republic.
But a number of tyre experts, who studied a picture of the damage inflicted, said they believed it had been caused by driving following a puncture.
Dana was asleep in the back seat of the Peugeot 508 when it suffered a blowout on the M4 motorway, near Kilcock, Co Kildare, on Tuesday night.
Her lawyers later filed an official complaint with gardai of criminal damage to the tyre.
The Londonderry native's campaign team said yesterday that the rear tyre appeared to have been punctured up to 15 times.
“It was very, very scary to look at,” Dana said. “As far as I am concerned, it was a very lucky escape. I never start a journey without saying a little prayer and I think we are all very lucky.”
Mr Scallon added: “When you see the tyre it kind of sends home to us what they were trying to do. Injure us or murder us? Along with doing that, they could have killed someone else.”
He said that 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.
However, a tyre expert, who was shown a photograph of the tyre, said last night that in his opinion the tyre had suffered a casing break-up, known in the trade as a CBU, which is caused by the tyre being driven while punctured.
He reckoned the damage resulted from the side of the tyre being trapped between the rim and the road. If it had been a front tyre, he reckoned the driver might have spotted the puncture at an earlier stage.
A second expert, Eddie Ryan, marketing director at Advance Pitstop, added: “From the pictures of the wheel, we can see nothing of any unusual damage.”
The car, which was covered with Dana posters, had been parked outside the Landmark hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, for several hours on Tuesday.
There were four occupants in the car including Dana's brother, Gerald Brown, and her cousin.
Mr Brown and Mr Scallon had swapped places behind the wheel of the car at a service station after passing through the toll plaza on the M4 as they headed to Dublin.
Neither noticed anything unusual before the tyre blew out at 9pm in the Kilcock area.
The complaint about criminal damage is being investigated by gardai at Carrick-on-Shannon and the tyre will be forensically examined by experts.
An AA roadside recovery team was called out and changed the tyre.
Mr Scallon said they had no idea of the extent of the damage until yesterday morning. “I'm not an expert but it looks like it has been interfered with. There's no explanation for it.”