Travel disrupted, electricity supplies down as high winds lash west coast

Flights and ferries cancelled and phone lines down as stormy conditions return


Walkers out braving the elements as gale force winds drift into the Atlantic on Rossbeigh Stand, County Kerry. Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan

Walkers out braving the elements as gale force winds drift into the Atlantic on Rossbeigh Stand, County Kerry. Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan

 


Flights and ferries have been cancelled, power outages experienced in the past week continued and phone lines were down as high winds and stormy conditions hit the west coast last night.

Met Éireann issued its most serious weather warning – code red – for six counties: Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Waterford and Wexford and a severe weather warning for the rest of the country.

Stena Line has cancelled its 13.30 sailing from Dún Laoghaire to Holyhead. Irish Ferries cancelled all its Swift sailings today along with two of its Cruise sailings.

Flights from and to Donegal airport were cancelled last night and again for this morning after a lightning strike caused damage to essential equipment. The airport’s management hopes to resume normal service later today but passengers travelling to Dublin were being bussed from Donegal last night.


High winds
High winds at Shannon forced the cancellation of an Aer Arann flight to Manchester and the return flight. Passengers from Shannon were being taken by bus to Dublin to fly from Dublin to Manchester on the airline, which operates for Aer Lingus Regional.

A Ryanair flight to Shannon from Stansted was diverted to Dublin Airport and passengers travelled by bus to Shannon. Aer Lingus flights from Shannon to Heathrow and the return to Shannon were also cancelled. Passengers were transported by bus to Dublin to fly from there to Heathrow while returning passengers will travel from Dublin by bus to Shannon.

Last night Eircom reported 7,300 customers affected by faulty lines following the stormy weather, and more faults were expected. The telecoms company has 700 crews working today to repair network damage as a result of the severe wind and lightning. Worst affected were west Cork, Mayo, Galway, Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford.

The lightning and high winds damaged poles and cables as well as in-home wiring.

A spokesman said that “despite restoring service to approximately 15,500 customers over the past 12 days, there have been more than 18,000 network faults reported”.

The company asked customers affected to log the fault as early as possible on the “Log a fault” section of the website eircom.ie/logafault.


Electricity
Earlier yesterday evening about 100 homes were without electricity, some 20 in the Dunfanaghy area of Donegal and approximately 80 in the Limerick area. An ESB spokeswoman said lightning strikes were very damaging for the electricity network and tended to hit in very localised spots.

But there was good news for residents of Inis Mór after the Shannon-based coastguard helicopter flew ESB crews to the Aran island to restore power lines in time for Christmas.