A brave driver stopped on a busy motorway yesterday (Wednesday) to move to cows away from passing traffic.
The alarm was raised shortly after 2.00pm when Gardaí in Ennis received several calls about cattle loose on the M18 near Latoon in Co Clare.
The National Roads Authority’s (NRA) motorway maintenance contractor, which has a base adjacent to the M18 near Ennis, was also alerted.
Motorway crews made their way to the scene however there was no immediate sign of the animals and passed where they had been hidden behind trees.
The pair reappeared soon afterwards from the top of an embankment and wandered back onto the motorway hard shoulder forcing motorists to brake hard and even stop.
The animals began making their way along the motorway towards the Dromoland interchange when one daring motorist took matters into his own hands.
As cars sped past at up to 120kmh the brave driver stopped his van and along with his two female passengers tried to encourage the animals off the motorway.
The driver returned to his vehicle and got a large stick and managed to force the cattle onto a grass embankment where he remained with them until motorway crews arrived. The unidentified driver and passengers then left the area.
Soon afterwords a motorway maintenance van had to reverse back along the hard shoulder to try an corral the animals and prevent them from wandering into passing traffic.
Personnel walked a long the motorway ‘fence line’ in an effort to locate where the animals breached the barrier. With no obvious break in the timber and wire mesh fence, crews had no option but to cut away a section to allow the cattle safely into a nearby field.
Crews spent several minutes cutting through the fence before, with the help of Gardaí and a local farmer, managed to usher the animals away from danger.
The NRA maintains the ‘fence line’ along the motorway network and the authority’s contractors are now investigating the breach.
“It’s not yet know how the animals got onto the motorway but our operators will investigate with the farmer how this occurred,” the NRA said.