Wednesday 18 July 2018

'An absolute tragedy' - Tributes paid to three victims of Storm Ophelia

Tributes have been paid to three victims who lost their lives in Storm Ophelia related incidents: Fintan Goss, Michael Pyke and Clare O’Neill
Tributes have been paid to three victims who lost their lives in Storm Ophelia related incidents: Fintan Goss, Michael Pyke and Clare O’Neill
16/10/2017 Ophelia arriving in Galway. Quick walk on the prom ahead of the Hurricane . Photo:Andrew Downes
16-10-17 Storm scenes at Tramore Co. Waterford. Picture Dylan Vaughan
Hurricane Ophelia hitting Fenit in County Kerry. Photo: Mark Condren
Gardai, and Dundalk fire brigade attend the scene of an accident at Ravensdale outside Dundalk where a fallen tree struck a car during storm Ophelia. Picture: Arthur Carron
A fallen tree struck at Thistle cross outside Dundalk during storm Ophelia. Picture: Arthur Carron
Gardai, and Dundalk fire brigade attend the scene of an accident at Ravensdale outside Dundalk where a fallen tree struck a car during storm Ophelia. Picture: Arthur Carron
Spray splashes over a car at the Point in Westport, Co. Mayo as Storm Ophelia batters the country. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus.
Locals cut up and clear a fallen tree which had been blocking the road for most of the day on the Leixlip Road, near the Salmon Leap Inn this evening after Hurrricane Opelia
16/9/17 Gardai, the coastguard and the RNLI helicopter at Blackrock in Co Louth where windsurfers were surfing during storm Ophelia. Picture: Arthur Carron
Storm scenes at Tramore Co. Waterford. Picture Dylan Vaughan
A fallen tree on Northbrook Road, Ranelagh, which was blown over during Storm Ophelia.

Ryan Nugent, Ralph Riegel and Elaine Keogh

Tributes have been paid to the three victims of Storm Ophelia as the clean-up operation commences today.

The three victims were killed in separate counties following tragic incidents directly linked to the strongest storm to strike Ireland in more than 50 years.

The public's adherence to warnings to remain indoors is credited with preventing further loss of life during the storm.

Trees that were hundreds of years old slammed onto roadways while everyday objects became projectile missiles in the Hurricane force gusts.

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

Clare O’Neill (58) died after the car she was driving was struck by a tree. She was due to celebrate her 59th birthday on Tuesday October 17.

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Clare O'Neill who was killed in a car accident during storm Ophelia

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 have been described as non-life threatening.

Clare 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.

“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.

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Michael Pyke, who was killed during storm Ophelia

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

Emergency services were called but Mr Pyke was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was later removed to Clonmel Hospital.

Meanwhile, at approximately 2.45pm a serious road traffic collision occurred in the Ravensdale area of Dundalk, Co Louth. Fintan Goss, who was aged in his 30s, was the driver of a vehicle when it was struck by a tree. It is believed the married father-of-two had been travelling home early from work due to the storm when tragedy struck.

Mr Goss lived in Ravensdale with his wife and children.

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Fintan Goss has been named locally as the man who died when a tree hit his car earlier in the Ravensdale area of Dundalk.

They were supporters of Fine Gael and last night the chairperson of Dundalk Municipal District, Cllr John McGahon (FG) said: “This is an absolute tragedy. Fintan and the Goss family are extremely well regarded in the community.

“He will be greatly missed by his friends, family and the local community in Ravensdale. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar extended his sympathies to the families of those killed.

President Michael D Higgins also extended his sympathies to the families who lost loved ones during hurricane Ophelia.

Speaking as he continued his State Visit of Australia President Higgins said; "My heart goes out those who have lost loved ones and what they must be suffering". 

The President also acknowledged that the extent of the destruction the storm caused will continue to emerge today.  

"Some people will have been badly affected by flooding, others will have to reconstruct houses," he said. "I hope that once again that people will come to gather in a spirit of cooperation."

How did Ophelia affect you? Send your comments and pictures to contact@independent.ie. Remember to stay safe

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