herald

Sunday 19 November 2017

Emergency services stretched as Dublin battered by ophelia

A fallen tree in Ranelagh
A fallen tree in Ranelagh

Dublin was virtually a ghost city as high winds battered the capital during Ophelia's nationwide rampage.

Shops shut and public transport came to a halt as emergency workers responded to scores of incidents of storm damage throughout the city.

Most people heeded warnings to stay off the streets, though former US president Bill Clinton was seen strolling in the city centre with bodyguards.

He is due to receive an honorary degree from DCU today.

The storm forced the cancellation of Dublin Bus services from 10am and Luas services from noon, while commuter train and Dart services stopped shortly afterwards.

The Mother and Child statue in Finglas Village, which is feared stolen, was filmed being loaded into the back of a van
The Mother and Child statue in Finglas Village, which is feared stolen, was filmed being loaded into the back of a van

Havoc

Further headaches were in store for Luas commuters, as storm damage to equipment at the Red Cow depot means services cannot resume this morning.

Firefighters, long accustomed to displaying versatility in responding to emergencies, took on the added role of lumberjacks as crews responded to reports of fallen trees in most parts of the capital.

Dozens of damaged trees caused havoc with traffic flow, though the number of vehicles on the streets had been dramatically reduced due to warnings from authorities that only essential journeys should be made.

Power lines down in several parts of the city caused outages as ESB network crews were fully stretched restoring fallen lines.

Dublin City Council's dangerous buildings unit was also working overtime.

In one case, a huge tree toppled by the storm on Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, came to rest against a residential building. Another giant tree hit a building in Northbrook Road, Ranelagh.

Fallen trees blocked an entrance to St James's Hospital until fire crews cleared the obstacle.

Loose materials on a building at Hanover Street/Benson Street caused debris to fall on to the public thoroughfares, resulting in yet another street closure.

Emergency services were dismayed to see some members of the public choosing to ignore official advice by strolling close to the sea on piers in Howth and other seaside locations.

Meanwhile, rumours were rife online that the M50 had been closed due to Ophelia, but these were quickly rubbished by AA Ireland and M50 Dublin.

One Twitter user posted "M50 to close at 4.30pm, toll booth closed now, chaos on motorway, cars left on hard shoulders #Ophelia", which caused panic among the public.

M50 Dublin leapt into action, saying: "Please use official accounts for #Ophelia news.

Slammed

"Some rumours going around that we are closing at 12? Deffo not, M50 will be open all day. You should check your sources before tweeting something like this, we are not closed and nor will we be closing."

AA Roadwatch also slammed the false reports and told commuters: "M50 & Rice Bridge not closing. Don't listen to #fakenews, stick to official sources for info."

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