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HAVOC.. AT 100mph; Devastation as Ireland lashed by ferocious storms.

Byline: SIMON BYRNE

IRELAND was this morning still mopping up after some of the strongest gales in living memory battered the country.

Thousands of homes were left without power, trees were uprooted and dozens of people had lucky escapes as buildings collapsed.

Roads across the country were blocked by fallen trees as heavy rain and coastal flooding added to people's misery.

The worst-affected counties were Monaghan and Cavan, where gusts of more than 100mph were recorded.

Dozens of emergency crews from the ESB worked throughout yesterday in a bid to restore power to at least 30,000 homes left without power.

In Galway, a roof was blown off a school while dozens of windows were blown out of a housing estate in Co Cavan.

A spokesman for Met Eireann warned people to take care as the storm had not fully passed.

"There maybe a sting in the tail of this storm. It might not be as bad as Friday night and Saturday morning but people should still take care," he said.

The North was particularly badly hit with chimneys and roofs being blown off houses.

Over 40 passengers were last night spending their second night on a P&O ferry after it got stranded off the coast of Scotland after leaving Belfast at 4am on Saturday morning.

CAPTION(S):

FORCE OF NATURE: A flooded cattle field and, inset, a school roof ripped off in Co Galway; STRANDED: Firefighters inspect the stricken Belfast-bound ferry off the Scottish coast
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jan 9, 2005
Words:247
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