Canal Walk in Kilkenny City remains closed to the public due to damage caused by Storm Ophelia
Storm winds of almost 120km/h uprooted trees and hurled garden furniture about like children’s toys on Monday as the ex-Hurricane Ophelia unleashed its fury on Kilkenny.
Over 200 calls were made to the council’s dedicated phoneline for storm-related issues, and on Tuesday morning, Kilkenny awoke to find no fewer than 60 roads blocked or obstructed by fallen trees and debris.
Power outages affected 16 local water treatment plants too, leaving thousands of people at risk of losing supply. Power has since been restored to all but four of these water plants, while just five roads have yet to be cleared.
Twenty-six local authority houses sustained minor damage during the storm, while one received more serious damage to its chimney. As the council’s severe weather plan was put into action, six homeless individuals were accommodated at the Good Shepherd Centre.
Director of services at Kilkenny County Council Tim Butler said a huge amount of work had been achieved, thanks to the cooperation of all agencies, and the public for heeding warnings and staying in.
Some 21 army personnel and two vehicles from the 3rd Infantry Battalion were deployed to Kilkenny to support the local authorities in their response to Storm Ophelia. The personnel deployed assisted in road clearance and mobility tasks.
The health service, too, was affected, with hospital appointments and elective surgeries postponed both Monday and Tuesday. The HSE has warned there will likely be some disruption over the coming days due to cancelled appointments and a subsequent ‘catch-up’ period required.
Speaking to the Kilkenny People yesterday afternoon, north Kilkenny councillor Pat Fitzpatrick said that while most roads in the area were now clear, some dangers may remain at the sides of roads and some trees/branches are still hanging dangerously.
“There has been a great spirit of everyone helping everyone,” he said.
“Electricity is still out in some areas, but people have been sharing generators and everything.”
Meanwhile, in south Kilkenny, Cllr Pat Dunphy said it was the worst sustained storm he had seen, but that people here had heeded warnings and prepared well. Yesterday afternoon, Cllr Fidelis Doherty said she was still without electricity but that people were getting on with things.
It may be two or three weeks before a final figure is confirmed for the cost of the damage and clean-up operation.