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Man lucky to escape with life after drugs gang mow him down

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The man is struck by a car

The man is struck by a car

Two opposing factions armed with bats and bars had been fighting before the man was struck by the car

Two opposing factions armed with bats and bars had been fighting before the man was struck by the car

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The man is struck by a car

This is the moment a 47-year-old man was lucky to escape with his life when he was mown down by an out-of-control driver as part of a brawl involving more than a dozen men.

Seconds earlier, two opposing factions armed with bats and bars attacked each other on a green in the Fr Murphy Park estate in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, at around 8pm on Tuesday.

The Herald can reveal that one faction had driven more than 30km from its base in Wexford town to "retrieve a drugs debt".

However, when the gang arrived in Enniscorthy it was confronted by a number of other males in major, violent disorder.

Arrested

After the 47-year-old was mown down by the Silver Opel Meriva car, the gang fled the locality and drove to its Wexford town base where gardai suspect it "attempted to storm" a house in the King Street area.

However, no one was injured in that incident and a short time later the Opel car the gang had been using was found partially burnt out in the South Slob area of the town.

Later on Tuesday night, a man in his 20s was arrested and he was being held at Wexford Garda Station. More arrests are expected to follow.

"The information is that this gang were on a debt collecting drive and they seem to be very short of cash because the Covid policing plan in the county has made it very difficult to move drugs," a source told the Herald.

"However, they got more than they bargained for when they travelled to Enniscorthy and they were confronted, which ultimately led them to running over the 47-year-old local man."

The victim, who is well known to gardai and has around 40 previous convictions mainly for minor offences, was "lucky to escape with his life", according to sources.

It is understood he was still being treated last night at Wexford General Hospital for serious head and facial injuries, as well as "severe muscle damage".

The gang suspected of carrying out the rampage on Tuesday is linked to a notorious grouping of local criminals, which was the target of a major garda undercover sting operation against street-level heroin dealing in Wexford in 2014 and 2015.

Another associate of the gang is serving a life sentence for a brutal stab murder.

"This gang are members of a notorious crime family who have been involved in drug dealing and serious violent crime for many years," a senior source said last night.

Gardai yesterday appealed for information on what they described as an "affray and endangerment" incident.