October 17th, 2017
Three dead and over 215,000 remain without power as Ireland deals with the aftermath of ex-hurricane Ophelia which hit the island yesterday.
The families of the three people who tragically lost their lives mourn this morning, as the rest of the country gets underway with cleaning operations in the wake of ex-Hurricane Ophelia.
The first victim was 58-year-old Clare O’Neill. She died after the car she was driving was struck by a tree yesterday morning in Co Waterford.
She had been due to celebrate her 59th birthday on Tuesday. Her mother, a passenger in the car who is in her 70s, suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the accident.
Michael Pyke, 31, was the second victim with Gardaí reporting a tree collapsed on him as he attempted to clear a fallen tree with a chainsaw near Cahir in Co Tipperary.
The third victim was Fintan Goss, who was in his 30s and a father of three. He was killed when his car was struck by a tree in the Ravensdale area north of Dundalk in Co Louth yesterday.
Electricity and Water Issues
Over 215,000 ESB customers are without power and another 20,000 households without water.
ESB Networks crews have restored power to 170,000 customers, according to the company, with 216,000 customers remaining without power today. It is expected that the majority of customers will have their power restored in three to four days.
Irish Water said that the number of households without water could rise significantly depending on electricity supply being restored to treatment plants.
Calls for Emergency Funds
Green Party Councillor Malcolm Noonan has called on the Minister for Local Government, John Paul Phelan, TD to make an emergency fund available to aid the rebuilding of communities and for clean-up costs.
Cllr Noonan commended the work of the emergency services and called on the Government to put in place “sound contingency measures that include resources to Local Authorities” for the future.
Fine Gael Senator and spokesman on EU Affairs, Neale Richmond, also called on the Government to apply for financial assistance through the EU Solidarity Fund.
The fund has been used to provide financial aid for 76 disasters across Europe including earthquakes, forest fires and floods since it was set up in 2002.
“Given the huge amount of damage inflicted across the country by Hurricane Ophelia, Ireland will be eligible for such funds,” Mr Richmond said.
Transport and Schools
Both Luas lines are out of operation this morning following damage to the roof of technical rooms at the Red Cow. Services will recommence tomorrow morning at 5:30am tomorrow morning.
Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann are operating as normal with only minor diversions. Iarnród Éireann is also operating as normal this morning with only a small number of cancellations.
Schools nationwide will remain closed today, with Education Minister, Richard Bruton defending the decision “in the interests of child safety and on the basis of information available in what is a developing situation”.
Met Éireann’s Red Level Wind Warning was lifted for the entire country in the early hours of this morning.
However, forecasters have said an Atlantic storm dubbed storm Brian could hit Irish shores this weekend. It could trigger a status yellow weather warning which will bring rainfall and heavy winds.