Safety key in Rally

Stephen and Gavan Harris in their Escort on the rally on Friday.
Stephen and Gavan Harris in their Escort on the rally on Friday.

Inishowen was buzzing on Sunday as an estimated 25,000 people flocked to the peninsula to watch the final stages of the Topaz Donegal International Rally.

The safety message around the Rally seems to have gotten through, with the fire service in the county reporting no road related call-outs during the event.

Gardaí in Buncrana also said described the event as “reasonably quiet”.

Inspector David Murphy from Buncrana Gardai said the weekend was very busy, but “thankfully there no major incidents.

“We believe the operation we put in place was very successful and thankfully there were no accidents this year. The traffic arrangements met with the demands of the local area and it went well.”

However the Inspector admitted the evening time brought a little bother for the local Gardai.

“There were a few minor incidents with soem of the spectators later on on Sunday night but that was long after the rally finsihed. There were no arrests made.”

The event was stopped last year following the death of co-driver. The success of this year’s event will be welcome news to organisers and motor racing fans.

The rally had been the target of a safety campaign by the Donegal Motor Club, the county council, the Road Safety Authority and Motorsport Ireland. With the slogan, ‘Keep the Race in its Place,” the campaign was aimed at reducing motoring offences linked to the rally.

Donegal’s Chief Fire Officer Bobby McMenamin said there were no reported road call-outs over the weekend for the rally, the biggest event of any kind staged in the county.

“It would be unusual to have no call-outs over that weekend. When you have so many people coming into the county and travelling around we would normally have one or two accidents that we would have to attend, so it is very positive that we did not have to go to any.”

Donegal County Council Road safety officer Eamonn Browne said that he was aware that some ‘doughnut trails’ were left on roads in the county over the weekend.

“There would have been some of that sort of behaviour but overall it is a smaller and smaller group each year. It seems that people did take heed of the message,” he said.

Buncrana Mayor Nicholas Crossan praised the Gardai for their work over the weekend.

“The g uards did an excellent job. They were very well placed throughout Buncrana and traffic wasn’t held up too much.”