Republic of Ireland news

Man killed by falling tree as Ireland is lashed by Storm Eunice

Hail shower near the Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare, as Storm Eunice continues to rage across Ireland. Picture by Eamon Ward/PA Wire 
Dominic McGrath, PA

One person has died and tens of thousands of people remain without power as Storm Eunice caused damage across Ireland today.

Gardaí confirmed that a man in his 60s died in Co Wexford after being struck by a falling tree.

The man, an employee of Wexford County Council, had been attending the scene of a fallen tree in the north Wexford area.

A spokesperson for the council expressed “deep regret and sadness” at the news.

He said: “The employee’s family, An Garda Siochána and the Health and Safety Authority have been informed.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the employee’s family, work colleagues and friends at this very difficult time.”

A post-mortem examination is expected to take place at Waterford University Hospital.

Housing Minister, Darragh O’Brien, paid his respects this afternoon, tweeting: “I want to extend my deepest sympathies to their family, friends and colleagues at this horrifically sad time.”

Meanwhile, around 80,000 homes, farms and businesses remain without power on the island as Storm Eunice felled trees, blocked roads and caused damage and disruption across swathes of the Republic of Ireland.

Counties Cork, Kerry and the south of the country have borne the brunt of the major storm, as high winds of more than 100km per hour wreaked havoc on homes, buildings and businesses.

However, heavy snow also caused significant disruption in parts of the north-west.

Difficult driving conditions were reported on parts of the Glenshane Pass in Co Derry due to snow.

The PSNI confirmed officers attended the scene of several crashes on the stretch of road on Friday.

A PSNI spokesperson said no-one required hospital treatment.

“The Glenshane Road remains open and is passable with care at present,” they added.

Red and orange storm warnings for parts of the Republic have now lapsed, although a yellow warning remains in place.

It is expected that winds will persist in the southern half of the Republic in the coming hours, even as the storm moves over beyond the island.

Met Éireann said gusts of more than 130kph had been recorded in Cork, while another weather station in the county recorded wind speeds of 106kph.

Across the south of the island, there have been numerous reports of fallen trees and blocked roads after high winds hit the region.

Schools and colleges across the Republic were closed today, following advice from the Department of Education.

In total, schools in nine counties were closed due to the dangerous conditions.

Brian Tapley, from ESB, said this morning: “We will know the extent of the damage to our network probably by midday, because the storm is passing so quickly.”

He told RTÉ radio that ESB workers would aim to “restore everyone as quickly as possible and safely as possible”.

As of midday on Friday, ESB said it hoped that the majority of customers would see power restored by the end of the day.

However, it warned that some customers in south Kerry and west Cork may be without power overnight.

Snow has reportedly fallen in parts of Donegal and the north-west, with more sleet and snow possible later today.

Local council staff have been working to clear any blocked roads.

Gardaí urged the public to heed warnings for their local areas.

Those living in the worst-affected areas have been advised to stay indoors for the duration of the storm and to remain cautious even when the worst conditions have abated.

Bus Eireann confirmed that following the lifting of the red warning, services in Cork, Kerry and Clare have now returned to a normal schedule.

Irish Rail said services on all routes are operating as normal, with reduced speed in some locations.

In Dublin and Cork airports, a significant number of flights were cancelled.

Forty-three flights were cancelled on Friday at Dublin Airport, with further delays and possible cancellations expected later as Storm Eunice hits UK airports.

In Cork, four inbound and four outbound flights were cancelled, with delays also anticipated later.

“We are advising all passengers to check the status of their flights in advance of travel to the airports today with their airlines,” a Dublin Airport spokesperson said.

The HSE said it hopes to experience little or no disruption to services on Friday.

Anne O’Connor, chief operations officer for the HSE, said patients should hopefully only experience a “brief disruption” to planned appointments and services.

Ireland’s National Emergency Co-ordination Group met on Friday to discuss the impact of the storm and advised that people continue to stay away from all coastal areas and to take extra precautions while travelling.

A yellow wind and rain warning covers the rest of the country until 6pm, with a snow and ice warning in place until 10am on Saturday.

In Northern Ireland, a yellow wind and snow warning is in place until 6pm.

Meanwhile, a yellow rain warning has been issued for Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo for 24 hours from 4pm on Saturday.

It comes with a warning from Met Éireann of the potential for localised flooding in the north-west.

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