Storm Barra: Friday before power back in some Kerry homes – ESB

Crews from Northern Ireland expected to help repair faults restore electricity

ESB Overhead crew work on a damaged transformer near Fassaroe, Co Wicklow on Wednesday. Photograph: Alan Betson

ESB Overhead crew work on a damaged transformer near Fassaroe, Co Wicklow on Wednesday. Photograph: Alan Betson

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Crews from NIE Networks, which owns the electricity transmission and distribution network in Northern Ireland, were expected in Kerry on Wednesday to help tackle outages and faults sustained in the wake of Storm Barra.

Thousands of people in Kerry were still without power on Wednesday and a number of water supply plants were affected.

Meanwhile householders, the owners of street property and landowners were asked by Kerry County Council to assess any damage.

Members of the public were asked to look at drains, roofs, trees and vegetation, and report any issues in advance of subsequent storms.

ESB crews from Kerry, numbering 30 personnel, who had gone to Scotland to help restore power after Storm Arwen hit there, arrived back in their home county of Kerry on Wednesday, a day later than expected because of Storm Barra’s disruption to travel.

Sean Scannell, regional manager for Kerry with ESB Networks, said that at the storm’s peak, at 9pm in Tuesday, 10,000 customers, households, businesses and farms across Kerry were without power. Some 3,500 were still out on Wednesday afternoon, and it will be Friday before power will be back in some houses, Mr Scannell said.

Uprooted

On Tuesday the storm brought electricity lines down in exposed areas such as the Dingle peninsula, while inland trees and vegetation were uprooted.

The “sheer force” of the wind on Tuesday was the issue causing the large number of faults in Kerry, Mr Scannell said.

Eight crews comprising three electricians each, along with supervisors and other personnel, equipped with machinery, are expected in Kerry from NIE Networks over the next two days to help restore power, he said.

Trees have come down across Kerry in urban parks as well as alongside rural roads, and assessments of parks and playgrounds were taking place in advance of any reopening.

Kerry County Council engineers have carried out assessments on a number of buildings which were potentially hazardous and where material including slates had blown off, the council has said.

Streets were closed in Ballybunion after it was feared a section of the roof of the Golf Hotel had been damaged by the storm.

In Muckross House and Gardens, damage to the Victorian glasshouse alongside the restaurant was being assessed on Wednesday.

The general advice to property owners in Kerry was that they should carry out assessments after this first storm of the season, said Owen O’Shea, spokesman for Kerry County Council.

Blocked drains should also be looked at to prevent flooding on roads including national secondary roads, the council advised.

Boil water

Water supply was affected in several parts of Kerry and a number of boil water notices were issued by Irish Water because of fears water may not be properly disinfected where electricity outages had occurred.

Kenny Jones, a dairy farmer and chairman of the IFA in Kerry, said farmers had worked through the storm because animals still had to be fed, milked and looked after.

Farmers’ knowledge of their localities was essential, Mr Jones said, and he urged those with local knowledge and who noticed vegetation and drains in need of attention to alert the relevant authorities before further storms.

Kerry escaped Storm Barra without any serious injury or loss of life. The mayor of Kerry, Cllr Jimmy Moloney, said that was due to the co-operation of the public in heeding weather warnings and remaining indoors on Tuesday.

A number of roads which had been closed were being cleared on Wednesday, including a number of urban roads in Killarney. A large lime tree which came down directly outside the Monastery primary school in Killarney was being removed.

The N71 suspension bridge in Kenmare was still closed for much of Wednesday but was expected to become passable on Wednesday night.