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Hurricane Mitch leaves 30,000 homes in dark out after night of chaos; IRELAND PICKS UP THE PIECES AFTER 90MPH GALES.

HURRICANE Mitch wreaked havoc in Ireland yesterday.

More than 30,000 homes across the country were left without power as 90mph gales toppled trees and downed electricity cables.

In Louth, a motorist was critically injured in the storm.

Raymond Comiskey, who is in his 20s, was on his way to work when his car smashed into a fallen tree.

The hurricane, which claimed more than 10,000 lives in Central America, travelled across the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend.

In Dublin city centre, the roof of a derelict building blew off at around 4am, but the old structure managed to stay up.

Airports across Ireland were shut down and ferry sailings cancelled.

A Garda spokesman last night warned motorists to watch out for falling debris.

"There are a lot of trees and cables down around the country. The west of the country seems to be the worst hit.

"Motorists need to be very cautious especially along the back roads."

In the west, fishermen took shelter in the ports as 30ft waves battered the coast.

And in the North, many homes were damaged and left without electricity.

Trevor Keegan from AA Roadwatch said Galway and Donegal were worst affected.

"Galway was one of the blackspots during the storm and a lot of people didn't have any electricity.

"Donegal took a bad battering as well. There, back roads are extremely bad and will need to be cleared up."

Met Eireann's Joan Blackburn said the country may have to brace itself for more stormy weather this week.

"Hurricane Mitch didn't come too close to us and didn't bring the floods it brought to South America.

"The hurricane is gone now but there is a depression due here on Wednesday which will bring us very windy weather again."

Meanwhile, animal lovers have mounted a rescue operation for little orphans of the storm.

Seal pups were stranded on numerous beaches from Donegal to Wexford and Dublin.

The Irish Seal Sanctuary in Garristown, Co Meath, says it has received around 60 calls in the last fortnight reporting abandoned seals, the largest number of reports since it opened in 1985.

Seven are being cared for in the Sanctuary by Brendan and Mary Price. The two youngest pups are just 14 and 16 days old.

Mr Price has appealed for anyone who finds a young seal not to put it back in the sea as they are not able to fend for themselves.

"In the waters off Ireland and the UK are two thirds of the world's population of grey seals and they are a protected species. I would ask anyone who finds one not to put it back in the sea but to contact us at 01-8354370."
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Author:Kelleher, Lynne
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 10, 1998
Words:450
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