Belfast Telegraph

Storm Ophelia: Three die in Republic of Ireland on day of raging winds

By Robin Schiller

Three people were killed as Ophelia left a trail of destruction across the Irish Republic.

The victims included a nurse, a young man out clearing a fallen tree and a married father-of-two, whose wife gave birth to their second child only last month.

They were all killed in separate incidents as the storm raged.

The first fatality occurred at 11.40am outside Aglish village, Co Waterford.

Nurse Clare O’Neill (58) died after the car she was driving was struck by a tree. She was due to celebrate her 59th birthday today.

Ms O’Neill’s mother, who is in her 70s, was a passenger in the car and was injured during the incident and was transferred to Waterford Regional Hospital. Her injuries were last night described as non-life threatening.

Ms O’Neill worked as an oncology nurse for over three decades and recently worked as Cancer Support Co-Ordinator with the Cork ARC Cancer Support House.

Local people paid tribute to Ms O’Neill who was a mother-of-one. “She was a very jolly woman, very helpful,” local shopkeeper Richard Hurley said.

“It’s a big shock, it’s a miserable morning, a young woman like that (dying) in such a tragic accident.”

The second tragic death caused by Ophelia occurred at around 12.30pm in Cahir, Co Tipperary.

Local man Michael Pyke (31) was attempting to clear a fallen tree with a chainsaw. Gardai believe he was attempting to move the tree on the Cahir to Ardfinnan road, when another tree collapsed and struck him, resulting in him falling onto the chainsaw.

Meanwhile, at approximately 2.45pm married father-of-two Fintan Goss was killed when his car was struck by a tree in the Ravensdale area to the north of Dundalk, Co Louth.

It is believed that Mr Goss, who was aged in his 30s, was travelling home early from work due to the storm when tragedy struck. His wife had given birth to their second child just last month.

Belfast Telegraph

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