Wednesday, 17th January 2018
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Ophelia wreaks havoc

The clean-up of in the aftermath of Hurricane Ophelia is now seriously underway. The ferocity of Ophelia was clearly signposted by the national authorities and their warnings were heeded by the general populace with a few exceptions. The whole of the country was virtually in shutdown for the whole of Monday with all air and land transport practically non-existent. Ireland to all intents and purposes was isolated from the rest of the world for most of the day.

In Waterford City and County there were widespread reports of damage mainly caused by falling trees and the roofs of houses seriously damaged, particularly in Portlaw where up to seven houses had their roofs ripped off by the force of the winds. It is with the greatest sadness and regret that we report the death of Claire O’Neill, Aglish, Co. Waterford who lost her life when a tree branch crashed through the windscreen of her car whilst her mother who was a passenger in the car was taken to hospital. The decision to close all schools in the country for the last two days was a very prudent one and has to be commended. The decision to close down Bus Éireann and Íarnrod Éireann was also a very sensible one and whilst no doubt many people were inconvenienced it was done with the public safety in mind. Power outages were reported in several parts of County Waterford but later restored. However water services in some part of the county are still effected but the authorities are working to restore supply as soon as possible.

Many shops throughout the City closed their doors and staff were sent home, again in the interests of their safety. It was clear in the vast majority of cases the general public heeded the serious warnings by the authorities and remained at home. It was regrettable that television reported people risking their lives by walking along various promenades throughout the country’s coastline. What is particuarly aggravating is that such actions put at risk the lives also of many emergency services personnel.

The Waterford City and County Council crisis management team were at work throughout the storm crisis and it is expected that the worst of the damage, particularly those caused by fallen trees will be cleared in the next few days.

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