GARDAÍ ARE investigating after a mass brawl in a Galway graveyard led to seven people being hospitalised, including some with suspected stab wounds.
A male youth was arrested trying to flee the scene while armed with a knife, and five men and two women were transported to hospital for treatment for non-life threatening injuries.
In a statement, Gardaí confirmed there was a "violent altercation" at Tuam graveyard in County Galway at around 4pm yesterday, with 30 officers needed to physically intervene in the fight and disperse the crowd.
The Irish Independent reports that the brawl was sparked when families attending two funerals-- one which took place at 12pm and another at 2pm-- were both present in the graveyard and began violently attacking one another.
An eyewitness, who was visiting a loved one's final resting place at the time the fight broke out, told the outlet that as soon as the two families laid eyes on each other "all hell broke loose".
Rocks were thrown at people and at cars, and one man allegedly pulled a wooden cross from the ground and used it to beat people. The eyewitness noted that one man appeared to be losing a lot of blood.
An Army helicopter, five ambulances and the Armed Response Unit were called to the scene, with around 30 officers needed to intervene and disperse the crowd.
One man was airlifted to hospital via helicopter.
A priest who was officiating one of the funerals was begging for the violence to stop but went unheard.
In a statement from Gardaí appealing for witnesses to the brawl confirmed that a "male youth was arrested by Gardaí attempting to flee the scene in possession of a knife".
"This male was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer (JLO).
"Five males and two females were injured during the course of this incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.
"Gardaí have commenced an investigation into this incident of violent disorder and are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station on 093 70840, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station."