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Power restored to 20,000 homes and businesses after Storm Gertrude

Published 29/01/2016

The Atlantic storm system brought winds gusting up to 130kph
The Atlantic storm system brought winds gusting up to 130kph

Power has been restored to about 20,000 homes and businesses across Ireland in the wake of Storm Gertrude.

With the north and north west worst affected, about 5,500 customers in the Republic and about 3,000 in Northern Ireland remained blacked out as the near hurricane force winds swept by.

The Blaney and Foyle bridges in Donegal and Derry had to be closed for several hours for safety reasons while trees were reported down in many counties.

One of those stretches hit hardest was the iconic Dark Hedges near Armoy, Co Antrim, which gained worldwide fame as one of the locations for scenes from the Game Of Thrones.

Two of the 200-year-old enchanting beech trees were uprooted and toppled on to the road.

At the height of the black-outs 10,000 customers in the Republic had no power with 92 faults reported in the north west alone.

ESB Networks said that one major power cut in Stranorlar was repaired, restoring power to more than 1,500 homes and businesses, only for a second big fault to hit about 3,000 customers.

The highest wind speed recorded was 50 knots at Malin Head - a storm force gale on the Beaufort scale.

Met Eireann had forecast the Atlantic storm system, the seventh of the winter, would bring winds gusting up to 81mph (130kph).

Outages were also reported in Wicklow, Westport, parts of Dublin, Athenry, Cong, Co Mayo, Roscommon, Limerick, Kerry and Wexford.

ESB Networks was posting updates on outages on powercheck.ie as reports of damage continued to come in and supplies were restored.

Several flights in and out of Dublin Airport were cancelled, with two services into Shannon delayed and Irish Ferries cancelled sailings on its fast ferry from Dublin.

AA Roadwatch carried a series of reports of trees down on roads across the country.

NIE Networks carried out helicopter patrols from Cullybackey, Co Antrim, to assess damage following reports of more than 170 incidents on the lines.

Most of the damage done to the electricity supplies on both sides of the border involved poles being blown over and fallen trees, broken branches and debris striking the power lines.

Julia Carson, NIE Networks communications manager, said: "The restoration effort has been in operation as soon as the storm struck and the helicopter patrols will help us identify damage in the rural area around Cullybackey.

"We were in regular contact with the Met Office and had mobilised NIE Networks emergency crews, engineers and call handlers in preparation for any damage the severe weather may cause."

A spokesman for ESB Networks said all its emergency repair crews were on the roads and tasked to broken lines.

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