Thousands still without power and water in wake of Storm Ophelia

Thousands of people remain without power and water supply 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.

Father-of-two Fintan Goss, 33, was killed in Ravensdale, Dundalk, when a car he was in was struck by a tree just 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, a 31-year-old, named locally as Michael Pyke, was killed in a chainsaw accident when he was trying to clear a tree downed by the wind.

Earlier, a woman driver in her 50s 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)

The Irish Independent reported she was former oncology nurse Clare O'Neill, who was due to celebrate her 59th birthday on Tuesday.

A female passenger, in her 70s, was injured and taken to Waterford Regional Hospital for treatment, gardai said. Her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Around 216,000 customers were still without power on Tuesday afternoon, with the worst damage in the southern part of the Republic, where around 80,000 people remain without water. That number is expected to rise.

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 re-filled.

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.

A spokesman for ESB said there had been reports of a number of "very near misses" involving those working to restore supply almost making contact with live electrical wires.

He urged members of the public to remain vigilant and stay safe if they come across any fallen wires.

We've deployed to #EC135 Helis to support @ESBNetworks restore power following

-- Irish Air Corps (@IrishAirCorps) October 17, 2017

Following reports some people had ignored the "danger to life" warnings issued, Sean Hogan, chairman of the national emergency coordination group said: "I deplore people who put lives of public sector workers at risk from some of their actions.

"I think they need to have a strong look at themselves."

Schools, which have taken a second day off, are expected to reopen on Wednesday although some may be unable to do so due to damage sustained, a spokeswoman for the Republic's education authority said.

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