North Munster counts the cost of Christmas winds


The Christmas Eve storm caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage in the counties of Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary. ESB engineers in Limerick described the damage - mainly caused by trees falling on power cables - as the worst in the area in living memory.

Up to 30,000 households in the area were without electricity on Christmas Eve and last evening there were still 2,500 households in Limerick, 1,500 in Clare and 500 in the Nenagh area without electricity. Up to Christmas Day there were 16,000 houses in Limerick city and county without electricity, 7,000 in Clare and over 3,000 in north Tipperary. The ESB yesterday drafted in 22 crews from Galway to assist local staff.

Yesterday's race meeting at Limerick had to be called off when trees were knocked onto the course and the railings were blown down. The face was blown off the clock on Penney's, formerly Cannock's, - one of Limerick's landmarks - and a concrete parapet on the roof of the AIB bank on O'Connell Street, which also houses the RTE studios, was blown onto to Cecil Street. On Christmas Eve afternoon, gardai had to divert traffic off O'Connell Street, where there was a continuous hail of slates and shop fittings. A tree fell on a car at the Crescent Shopping Centre, which had to close down early on Christmas Eve because of structural damage and power failure.

Many of the main roads leading into Limerick and most of the secondary roads were blocked by falling trees over Christmas and in one case in Doonbeg, Co Clare, scaffolding was blown through the glass front of a house.