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20/10/2011

Dana Tyre Damage 'Not Unusual'

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A police investigation has been launched into damage caused to a wheel on Dana Rosemary Scallon's Irish Presidential campaign car.

However, experts have said that the damaged tyre on the campaign car was consistent with the car having been driven on a flat tyre.

Fastfit and Advance Pitstop - have said the damage did not appear "unusual" and it didn't appear to be "mischievous damage".

This analysis follows Dana's claims that she is "lucky to be alive" after her campaign car suffered a tyre 'blow-out' on the motorway to Dublin.

Dana (pictured) was asleep in the back seat, with her husband Damien driving, when he suddenly lost control at about 100kph, several miles from the M4 toll, on the way to Dublin.

Her campaign team claimed the tyre appeared to have been punctured up to 15 times, not consistent with a standard 'blow-out'.

Mr Scallon said: "When you see the tyre it kind of sends home to us what were they trying to do - injure us or murder us? Along with doing that, they could have killed someone else."

But Eddie Ryan of Advance Pitstop said: "From the pictures of the wheel, we can see nothing of any unusual damage. We can see nothing from the outside of the tyre inferring that there is any mischievous damage.

"We can't see the inside of the tyre. And the only way to tell for sure would be to see and examine the inside of the tyre. However, the damage is consistent with a car driven on a flat tyre."

Honest Mistakes

Meanwhile fellow Presidential candidate Sean Gallagher has been drilled over his financial and political affairs.

Two media reports this morning questioned his links with Fianna Fáil and detailed a loan he received from one of his businesses in 2009, in breach of company law.

One of the queries relates to a €83,000 loan paid to Mr Gallagher in 2009 – it is claimed that the loan exceeded caps instated in company law- with cap for such loans set at 10% of company assets.

Mr Gallagher responded by saying it was an "honest mistake" and it was simply a cheque lodged into a wrong account that was moved back within a month.

The other report relates to his involvement in a Fianna Fáil Co Louth fundraiser, for which businesspeople were invited to a dinner with then Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

In an interview on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Gallagher was asked about his role in personally inviting donors to attend the event where guests were asked to donate up to €5,000 for the dinner in Dundalk, Co Louth in summer 2008.

Mr Gallagher said he mentioned the event to local businesspeople on occasions where he met them, but he did not formally invite them, or ask them for money, and did not himself contribute financially to the event.

More Questions For McGuinness

Sinn Fein Presidential candidate Martin McGuinness has been asked more questions about his involvement with IRA killings.

The widow and family of the late Detective Gerry McCabe have issued a statement on the candidature of Martin McGuinness.

In a statement the family ask McGuinness about his relationship with Kevin Walsh, one of the men involved in the killing of Det McCabe in Adare in June 1996, who was convicted of his manslaughter.

They say Mr McGuinness' actions do not make him a suitable candidate for the office of President of Ireland.

Elsewhere the candidates are on the home straight to polling day and will step up their campaigns with only one week to go.

Recent polls have suggested that Sean Gallagher followed by Michael D Higgins are leading the race.

See: 'We're Lucky To Be Alive' Says Dana

(LB/BMcC)

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