TheJournal.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more »
Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 19 November, 2017
Advertisement

Liveblog

92,413 Views 36 Comments
Share

As Ireland gets to grips with the damage caused by Storm Ophelia yesterday, cleanup operations are underway across the country. TheJournal.ie has the latest on the response to the storm.

The National Emergency Coordination Group will reconvene at 10am to assess damage reports from across the country.

The group met three times yesterday and work on assembling the reports from local authorities and state agencies has been under way since last night.

The key public safety and information messages are as follows:

  • The ESB is advising the public to stay away from fallen cables that may have broken due to the high winds; ESB Emergency Services can be contacted on 1850 372 999
  • Road users should pay particular attention to the risk posed by fallen trees
  • The Department of Education and Skills has instructed all schools to remain closed; crèches and Montessori facilities should also remain closed today
  • People are asked to check in on isolated and vulnerable neighbours

Here’s the latest public transport information we have:

The majority of Bus Éireann services are operating this morning, however a number of services have been cancelled:

All Irish Rail Intercity, Dart and Commuter services are running except for the exceptions listed below. Intercity services are expecting delays of up to 15 minutes as debris is removed:

Dublin Bus services are operating as normal:

However, Luas services have yet to resume:

An estimated 30,000 customers are without broadband, telephone and mobile services as a result of Storm Ophelia.

In a statement released this morning, Eir said: “The storm has delivered unprecedented and widespread levels of damage to Eir’s infrastructure including damage to poles and cables. While damage has been sustained throughout the country, the southwest and midlands are the worst affected areas and in particular Cork county.

“Some large scale faults in Kinsale, Co Cork and Tralee, Co Kerry have already been restored.

We expect new outages will arise today as the backup batteries currently supporting services in some exchanges and mobile sites run out of power. Eir has started to deploy up to 70 mobile generators to provide fixed and mobile services in locations that will restore services to the greatest number of customers.

Eir said around 1,200 staff are “working today to assess network damage and commence repair work”.

“Given the overhead nature of our network in rural areas, the damage is extensive and repair work will take time. Field technicians have, as a priority, attempted to make safe any dangerous poles or cables that have posed a public safety risk. Site access and road closures continued to pose a challenge overnight.

“If damaged infrastructure is causing a public safety risk, we ask people to contact us at 1850 245 424 or contact An Garda Síochána.”

Customers can find updates on Eir’s website and have been encouraged to log faults here or via customer service line 1901. Faults can be reported to either service 24 hours a day, seven days week.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has warned that GP and hospital services, particularly emergency departments (EDs), will take days to work through the backlog of patients built up due to Storm Ophelia.

Dr Padraig McGarry, chair of the IMO GP Committee, paid tribute to the long hours and hard work medical staff across the country have put in throughout the storm conditions.

Doctors and all healthcare professionals have worked round the clock to ensure that patients who needed attention received it. Though the storm made delivering essential care challenging, hospitals and GP practices were available to provide help and emergency support to patients.

McGarry asked patients to only attend GP surgeries and EDs if they require urgent care.

The latest updates from Bus Éireann can be read here.

A number of services have been disrupted due to fallen trees.

In terms of health services, the HSE has said it hopes to “restore all hospital services over the coming days”.

Outpatient services should be fully available today, but some elective (non-emergency) surgeries will be cancelled. Urgent procedures will be prioritised.

If your appointment was cancelled, you will be contacted to arrange a new one. The latest updates from the HSE can be found here.

Met Éireann’s nationwide status red weather warning has been lifted. However, a status yellow marine warning kicked in at 6am today.

“West to southwest gales will affect Irish coastal waters for a time today on coasts from Erris Head to Fair Head to Wicklow Head and the Irish Sea,” Met Éireann says.

All Coillte forests will remain closed to recreational users and the general public today while forest workers and contractors commence the assessment of the damage caused by Storm Ophelia.

A further update on when the forests are expected to open to the public will be issued later today.

Fallen and overhanging trees pose an extremely dangerous risk to the public and Coillte has urged people to remain vigilant over the coming days.

In a statement, Coillte said:

Members of the public should not approach fallen or overhanging trees as they pose a significant health and safety risk, and access routes blocked by trees should only be cleared by trained experts.

Fallen or overhanging trees should be reported to emergency services or directly to Coillte via 086 253 2262/michael.power@coillte.ie.

Three people lost their lives due to Storm Ophelia yesterday.

Tributes have been paid to Clare O’Neill, Michael Pyke and Fintan Goss, who was named this morning.

pastedimage-74769-390x285 Fintan Goss Source: Facebook

Our thoughts are with their loved ones today.

Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, received an updated briefing from the ESB this morning.

Around 245,000 homes and businesses remain without power. More information can be read on PowerCheck.ie.

Storm Ophelia blew a trail of destruction in many areas yesterday. Here are some images that capture the damage.

90526713 Waves at Summercove outside Kinsale in County Cork yesterday Source: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

90526680 Eoghan Murphy Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, told RTÉ’s Radio 1′s Morning Ireland it’s too early to estimate how much it will cost to repair damage caused by the storm.

He said he will know more once the National Emergency Coordination Group meets at 10am to assess damage reports from across the country. After the meeting, he’ll brief the Cabinet.

Murphy said repairing damage to roads is likely to be the main cost. He said the government will support local authorities financially as they work to repair the damage, stating: “The full resources of the State are there to help them in their cleanup costs.”

About 20,000 households are currently without water and a further 200,000 are at risk of losing water. Murphy said the situation is a priority for Irish Water, the ESB and other agencies.

Murphy said criticism of the government’s action to help homeless people during the storm was “unfair”.

Dublin City Council and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) sourced an additional 200 emergency beds in the Dublin area yesterday.

Elsewhere, homeless individuals and rough sleepers were transported to facilities via taxis or local authority minibus services.

Murphy said the Housing Department worked with the voluntary sector to make sure homeless people received adequate support.

Also on Morning Ireland, Bernadine Maloney, head of Corporate Affairs at the ESB, said crews from Northern Ireland and Scotland are expected to arrive today to help restore power to the 245,000 homes and businesses currently without electricity.

Crews from England, Wales and France may also arrive here – depending on the scale of damage caused by Storm Ophelia in their own countries.

The majority of people without power are in Cork – with some 90,000 customers affected. A further 18,000 customers in Kery have no electricity.

A volunteer lifeboat crew with Rosslare RNLI launched during Storm Ophelia to rescue three men on board a 10-metre yacht off the coast of Wexford.

The men had attempted to gain entry to several harbours but were constantly pushed back by gale-force winds and the rising tide.

Here’s footage of the rescue operation:

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Cleanup operations started across Cork county yesterday evening with council crews tending to blocked roads, fallen trees and debris.

The county was particularly badly affected by Storm Ophelia. Some 90,000 customers are still without power.

Cork County Council’s Crisis Management Team met throughout the day yesterday and is meeting again this morning. Crews were deployed across the county as soon as it was safe to do so. They continued their work as late as possible, with the last of the crews returning to base at around 10pm.

The council’s Chief Executive Tim Lucey said: “Many roads are still blocked and in some cases the council may not be aware that they are blocked. This is especially true of local roads.

I would encourage people to notify us of any roads that are blocked. People can do so by calling our emergency report line at 021 48 000 48.

“Our priority at all times will be to ensure the safety of the public and of staff. Contractors have been called in to support council crews to ensure that the job gets done as quickly as possible so as to ensure that people can go about their daily lives again.”

The council is assessing towns and villages affected and over the coming days will facilitate any cleanups required.

All council offices are open for business as usual today. More information can be read here.

A lot of people will be happy to hear that legislation to act as a deterrent against “reckless behaviour” that puts emergency services at risk will be drafted. Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O’Brien has tweeted his intentions about this.

There were several reports of people out walking, swimming and surfing during the storm.

22467659_1657179037635847_2716063371528578341_o A surfer photographed off Dalkey, Co Dublin yesterday afternoon, as Storm Ophelia hit Ireland Source: Gerry Andrews

The Rescue 116 helicopter was tasked to assist in the rescue of five windsurfers off the coast of Louth yesterday.

The men made their way back to shore themselves but not before a rescue call was put out and the RNLI lifeboat at Clogherhead was launched to assist them.

The incident occurred despite warnings from the Irish Coast Guard and numerous other government agencies to avoid coastal areas.

Shannon Airport has said its staff “worked throughout the night to assist airlines clear a backlog of flights delayed by Ophelia”.

In a statement, the airport said: “A slow improvement in weather conditions from yesterday afternoon meant that delayed flights could begin again. Three transatlantic flights to Boston, New York and Providence, which experienced disruption yesterday morning, departed the airport by 6pm yesterday evening.

“By 3am this morning all flights, including six diversions due into Dublin from Nice, Rome, Madrid, Faro, Palma and Bari, had departed Shannon Airport. A Delta flight diverted to Dublin yesterday morning due to the severe weather conditions will now resume its journey from Shannon to New York JKF at 9.30am this morning.”

The airport is expecting to operate a normal schedule today, but has advised passengers to check flight details with their airlines.

Live flight information is available here.

Dublin Airport has said there are “a handful” of cancellations there today, but most flights are operating as normal.

Passengers have been advised to check with individual airlines for the latest flight updates before coming to the airport.

Ireland West Airport in Knock, Co Mayo has said it is “fully operational today”.

The cleanup operation has begun in various parts of the country, with people being warned to stay away from fallen power lines and trees.

Gardaí in Finglas in Dublin are investigating after a well-known bronze statue was stolen from the area during Storm Ophelia.

The statue of a mother and child – officially called Let the Life Flow through – has been situated in the village since 1996.

Gardaí believe the statue may have been knocked over by a falling tree before being stolen.

“The community are disgusted by these actions and I would urge anybody with any information to contact Finglas Garda Station,” local Fine Gael TD Noel Rock said.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has just released the following information about national parks:

  • Ballycroy National Park and Glenveagh National Park are open to the public from 10am today
  • Killarney National Park will be open from noon today

“We will issue further bulletins about other reopenings over the course of the day,” the department said.

An Post services are returning to normal across the country today.

Most post offices have reopened. However, in some parts of the country power and technical outages have caused some offices to remain closed or open later than normal. The latest updates can be found here.

There is also some disruption to mail deliveries and collections.

“We are working closely with the emergency services, ESB networks and local teams to ensure a safe and speedy return to normal service. We thank customers for their co-operation,” An Post said in a statement.

There are reports of fallen trees in several counties including Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Galway and Waterford.

AA Roadwatch has the latest information here.

Again, DO NOT approach fallen trees or wires.

Earlier, we asked readers if they think people who ignore emergency service warnings during a status red weather warning should be subject to criminal proceedings.

Here are the results of the poll so far:

poll4

The Green Party has said lessons must be learned in the aftermath of Storm Ophelia to “better prepare Ireland for more common exceptional weather events in the future”.

Green leader Eamon Ryan said: “While the government and authorities took the storm seriously, and implemented a nationwide status red weather warning, there was a delay in getting information out to all communities, particularly the delay in providing the information through Irish Sign Language.

We also need to improve procedures so that so many people are not turning up for work, only to be sent home straight away. Likewise we need better coordination around the operation and closure of public transport and other key services during red weather warnings.

Yesterday, the Irish Deaf Society and the Council of Irish Sign Language Interpreters expressed their disappointment at the lack of sign language interpreters present during a number of official briefings about Storm Ophelia.

Cork City Council has said crews are “working hard” to clear fallen trees and debris.

Meanwhile, Cork Airport has said it “plans to operate a normal schedule of flights today albeit with some minor delays”. Passengers have been advised to check with individual airlines about flights.

That’s it from me for now, thanks for staying with us so far today.

Rónán Duffy will keep you up to date with all the latest information this afternoon. Stay safe out there.

- Órla Ryan

Hello, Rónán Duffy here.

Luas has announced that there will be NO SERVICE on either the red or green lines for the rest of today. The trams will be back running tomorrow at 5.30 am.

Damage to a Luas control room byt the storm has scuppered the survived

This is the full statement from Luas operator Transdev:

Hurricane Ophelia damaged the roof on the Red Cow depot yesterday at approximately 14:30. The roof is being repaired today – the firm contracted to repair the roof have estimated it will take the whole day.

The section of roof damaged is over what is known as technical rooms. Within those rooms are Luas systems. Those systems, for example, assist with overhead power and the AVLS, which is the automatic vehicle location system. These are necessary to run the Luas operation. These rooms and systems are being assessed for damage and assessed in relation to possible repair. It is therefore not possible for Luas services to resume at this point.

 

The company has apologised to customers and says it will keep people updated if the situation changes.

A briefing by the Office of Emergency Planning is currently taking place.

At the briefing, ESB Networks says power has been restored to 170,000 customers, leaving about 216,000 still without power.

At the height of the storm 385,000 customers were without power, making it a more damaging storm than 2014′s Storm Darwin.

It is expected that the majority of customers will have their power restored in thee to four days.

Separately, Eir says that it estimates around 30,000 customers are without broadband, telephone and mobile services as result of Storm Ophelia.

Here’s a  fuller update about what utilities are running and what aren’t.

There’s also talk about another storm, but don’t worry it’s only talk and there is no storm yet.

An Atlantic weather pattern is set to bring some wet and windy weather on Thursday, but Met Éireann’s Harm Luijkx told TheJournal.ie: “At the moment it doesn’t look too severe .”

PastedImage-85759 Source: TheJournal.ie

County County Council says it has received almost 600 calls about fallen trees.

The council says that over 300 council staff, 60 tree surgeons, and 100 tractors/JCBs are working to clear fallen trees and associated debris.

“All national roads were made passable as of yesterday evening,” the council said in a statement.

The vast majority of Regional roads are passable. Work is still ongoing on the R880 at Western Road Clonakilty, on the R594 Skibbereen to Caheragh road, and on the R627 at Brookfield East/West Park in Midleton.

As regards services, the council says that outages are causing interruption to water supplies and that they are working with Irish Water and ESB Networks.

There are currently issues in a number of areas, among them Kinsale and Charleville.

Cleanup works are underway in Dublin as well, like here in Finglas where fallen trees are being removed.

2385 Storm Ophelia Aftermath Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie.

South Dublin County Council says it received over 100 calls to its emergency out of hours phone lines from across the county yesterday.

The council says that between 90-100 trees fell throughout the county and that its priority is to ensure main roads are clear. Some traffic lights have also been affected but its expected these will be repaired later today.

Three council houses  in South Dublin County Council also suffered roof damage during the storm and the council says repair works will take place as soon as possible.

Businesses around the country are also trying to get back to normal today as they grapple with the aftermath of Storm Ophelia.

Many premises have faced some impact, although the damage may not be as bad as was initially feared.

Merrion Stockbrokers yesterday estimated that cost of the the damage could run to €500 million. Merrion’s Darren McKinley has now told Fora that it will likely be “less severe than this”.

The National Emergency Coordination Group says over 3,000 local authority staff are currently working on clean up and recovery efforts around the country.

Irish Water says that supply has now been restored to 45,000 people.

This means that there are now 100,000 people whose water supply has not be secure and could be at risk of being interrupted.

In terms of hospitals, there is nothing definitive and appointments and health services are returning on a case-by-case basis. Normal services is planned to return “over the next few days”.

Some hospital delays are expected and the HSE says it will contact clients whose appointments have been cancelled to reschedule them as soon as possible.

There are currently 69,000 customers without a water supply according to Irish Water.

The worst affected counties are Cork and Waterford with Irish Water saying a number of water treatment plants were also damaged in the storm:

We also have a number of wastewater treatment plants and a significant number of sewage pumping stations where power failure is resulting in discharge of untreated or partially treated wastewater to receiving waters. As with drinking water, the number of installations affected are being reduced as power supplies are restored. We currently estimate that approximately 30 wastewater treatment plants are without power nationally. Our focus now is to get these plants fully operational as soon as possible.

The Defence Forces have been involved in the clean up operation today.

Personnel, two helicopters and a water tanker were active today in support of the national response to Storm Ophelia.

Two Air Corps EC 135 helicopters have been assisting ESB Networks in conducting aerial recce of powerlines in Midlands and South West and they are likely to be in use again tomorrow.

With the schools all coming back, Bus Éireann will resume 6,000 school transport services tomorrow.

The company says there is “little or no disruption anticipated”  and that it will be a full service depending on the needs of schools.

Here are the details across  different parts of the country.

PastedImage-28938 Source: buseireann.ie

That update marks the end of today’s liveblog, but keep in touch with us over the rest of the week for more of the cleanup operation following Storm Ophelia.

COMMENTS (36)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

Leave a commentcancel

Trending Tags