Thousands still without power and water in wake of Storm Ophelia

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Thousands of people remain without power and water following Storm Ophelia, with a huge recovery operation under way across Ireland.

Storm Ophelia, strongest gusts in Ireland
(PA Graphics)

Three people died when the ex-hurricane, the strongest storm to hit Ireland in almost 60 years, battered the country on Monday.

A major clean-up and repair operation has begun with engineers working to restore downed power lines and crews clearing away fallen trees.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who visited engineers working to restore power in some of the worst-hit areas, said it could be eight days before some people get power switched back on.

“It is anticipated that the vast majority of people will have power restored in the next three to four days,” he said.

“Some may be without power for eight days.”

Father-of-two Fintan Goss, 33, was killed in Ravensdale, Dundalk, when a car he was in was struck by a tree 10 minutes from home on Monday.

Louth county councillor John McGahon described Mr Goss, who he said became a father for the second time in recent weeks, and his family as “extremely well-regarded in the community”.

In Cahir, Co Tipperary, 31-year-old Michael Pyke was killed in a chainsaw accident when he was trying to clear a tree downed by the wind.

Earlier, former oncology nurse Clare O’Neill, who was just short of her 59th birthday, died when a tree fell on her car in strong winds near Aglish village in Co Waterford.

Clare O'Neill, who has been named as one of the victims of Storm Ophelia
Clare O’Neill, who has been named as one of the victims of Storm Ophelia (Cork ARC Cancer Support House/PA)

Tributes were paid to Ms O’Neill, who worked as a nurse at Cork ARC Cancer Support House for more than a decade.

Ellen Joyce, director of services at the charity, said: “We are all deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our friend and colleague Clare O’Neill.

“She was a wonderful nurse and a special person who will be missed by the Cork ARC Cancer Support House team, our volunteers and all the people and patients she worked with here and in Youghal.

“Our thoughts are with her family at this most difficult time.”

Mr Varadkar said there had been two incidents where emergency workers had almost died due to downed power lines.

Around 170,000 customers were still without power on Tuesday afternoon, with the worst damage in the southern part of the Republic.

People in the worst affected areas, from Wexford to Skibbereen in Co Cork, have been asked to conserve their water supply as far as possible while repair work continues as reservoirs are refilled.

Soldiers have been deployed in the Republic, along with two military vehicles and two helicopters to help assess damage as thousands of ESB staff work to fix fallen and broken cables.

Crews from Northern Ireland will join efforts this evening while others from Scotland and France are expected to be drafted in to help from Wednesday.

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