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Saturday 17 March 2018

Gale force winds hamper search for fisherman


Gale force winds which lashed the west coast yesterday hampered the search for the body of a missing fisherman.

The 47-year-old Lithuanian national, who had been living in Tuam, fell into the sea while fishing with a friend from rocks at Blackhead, Co Clare at lunchtime on Sunday.

The friend is understood to have panicked and driven the 80km back to Tuam to raise the alarm at a garda station. As a result, the search operation did not get under way until at least two hours after the man entered the water.

Doolin and Kilkee coastguard have been assisting with the search, alongside the RNLI lifeboat from Inis Mor and the Shannon-based rescue helicopter. Local fishermen have also been helping in the search for the as-yet unnamed missing man.

Over 2,000 homes were without power across Co Galway as the storm raged in from the Atlantic. Up to 1,800 homes in the Loughrea area had lost power by mid-afternoon. It was a similar story in Glenamaddy where 180 homes were without electricity, along with 130 in Gort.

ESB crews were battling very difficult conditions as they attempted to restore power at the height of the gale-force winds last night. 

In Salthill the sea was crashing up onto the promenade from early afternoon and the Irish Coast Guard were warning people to stay away from areas where there was a risk of being blown into water.

The severity of the wind forced the closure of Colohan Road at the promenade for a time last evening.

Across Connemara and in rural parts of Galway, Mayo and Clare farmers spent the day moving their animals to safety.

All fishing vessels were tied up in western ports as the storm warnings forced trawler owners to head for safety in Rossaveal and the Aran Islands.

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