Tributes paid to three victims of storm Ophelia

People have been paying tribute to the three people who died during storm Ophelia yesterday.

The first to die during yesterday’s hurricane conditions was an oncology nurse originally from County Cork, writes Kevin O'Neill of the Evening Echo.

Clare O’Neill, aged 58, died after a tree branch fell on her car near the west Waterford village of Aglish.

She was due to celebrate her 59th birthday today.

She had worked as an oncology nurse for more than 30 years and was recently a Cancer Support Co-Ordinator with the Cork ARC Cancer Support House with their East Cork and West Waterford service, based in Youghal.

Clare O’Neill was the first fatality of Ophelia, when a tree fell on the vehicle in which she was driving.

She previously worked with the ARC cancer support team at their base on O’Donovan Rossa Road in Cork.

The family moved to the Aglish area of Waterford around seven years ago. The accident happened less than a kilometre from Ms O’Neill’s home, which is about two kilometres from the village of Aglish.

It is understood that a tree fell on the car, which was carrying two women. A woman in her 70s survived the incident.

Cork ARC Cancer Support House paid tribute to Ms O'Neill.

“We are all deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our friend and colleague, Clare O’Neill," Ellen Joyce, Director of Services said.

"She was a wonderful nurse and a special person who will be missed by the Cork ARC Cancer Support House team, our volunteers and all the people and patients she worked with here and in Youghal. Our thoughts are with her family at this most difficult time.”

Cork ARC Cancer Support House will be closed today as a mark of respect to Clare and will resume cancer support services tomorrow.

Clare worked with Cork ARC Cancer Support House for over a decade, in both the Cork ARC Cancer Support House in Cork city at O’Donovan Road and in establishing its new service at Friar Street in Youghal.

Fintan Goss who died in Co Louth during storm Ophelia.

Father-of-two Fintan Goss, 33, was killed in Ravensdale, Dundalk, when a car he was in was struck by a tree just 10 minutes from home.

Louth county councillor John McGahon described Mr Goss, who he said became a father for the second time in recent weeks, and his family as "extremely well-regarded in the community".

Michael Pyke, who died in Ballybrado, Cahir, Co Tipperary, as he was clearing a fallen tree.

In Cahir, Co Tipperary, a 31-year-old named locally as Michael Pyke was killed in a chainsaw accident when he was trying to clear a tree downed by the wind.

His family have described him as a "gentle giant".

His brother, Phil Pyke, said Michael was a "big, strong man", who was the "most gentle giant you'd ever meet in your lifetime."

Another brother, Dave, said Michael was ""doing a very good deed in the height of the storm," while his sister Linda said: "He was the apple of my dad's eye."

Michael was an electrical apprentice student at Limerick Institute of Technology and flags are at half-mast at the institute today in his memory.

The Dáil paid tributes to the three victims this afternoon.


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