Factcheck: Did Guards call in Army to stop a snowball fight?

The Star, the Mirror and the Donegal Daily reported that Irish soldiers were called on to the streets of Letterkenny over the weekend to stop a snowball fight. We hate to factcheck such a fun story…Newswhip logo

According to Donegal Daily, the “teenage terrors” stopped cars in the middle of the road and pelted them with snowballs, and pushed at least two cars into the middle of the road.

The story was picked up nationally by the Irish Daily Star and the Irish Mirror today.

According to Donegal Daily, when residents called the local Garda station, they were told the Boys in Blue couldn’t respond as they were “snowed in”.

The report states that Garda and Army personnel did arrive at the scene later, and dispersed the youths.

A call to Letterkenny Gardai station did confirm that there was a call from the Glencar area, but the Garda on duty could provide no information about whether soldiers were called in to help, and referred us to the army press office.

“I made inquiries of our people over in the West, they can’t recall any such operation,” a defence forces spokesperson told Newswhip.

“Certainly there was no specific request by the Gardai, who we would assist in situations like this, to help them.”

The spokesperson said Army personnel were helping the civic authorities in Co Donegal and elsewhere on other duties, such as clearing snowbound roads, and it was possible an army vehicle might have coincidentally been in the area at the time.

If so, then local observers could have misinterpreted the sighting.

However, the spokesperson emphasised that this was only a surmise, and the Army had no knowledge of how the report might have originated.

“All I can tell you for sure is that we received no request to assist the Gardai in clearing youths in the Letterkenny area,” the spokesman explained.

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