Limerick motorist was trapped between trees during Ophelia

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Cllr Eddie Ryan said the young man was travelling along the main R513 Limerick to Mitchelstown road on the day of the storm

Cllr Eddie Ryan said the young man was travelling along the main R513 Limerick to Mitchelstown road on the day of the storm

ONE MOTORIST had a narrow escape when he was trapped between two trees in County Limerick during the teeth of Hurricane Ophelia.

Cllr Eddie Ryan, speaking at a Cappamore-Kilmallock municipal area meeting, said the young man was travelling along the main R513 Limerick to Mitchelstown road on the day of the storm.

He had just passed the turn off for Anglesboro – a few miles from Mitchelstown – when there was a tree blocking the road.

“He stopped his car when another tree fell behind him. He was trapped between the two trees. He rang the local contractor, Pa Hanly, who works for the council. He came to the rescue. About nine or ten trees fell in total. Pa moved the trees to the side of the road. He freed the young man and traffic could pass again. He went above and beyond the call of duty,” said Cllr Ryan.

The Galbally man  said it just showed the importance of heeding the warnings to stay at home.

“The council staff had to be stood down for health and safety reasons. They arrived around 5pm and did a wondrous job to completely clear the road on the day,” said Cllr Ryan.

He called for the remaining trees on that 1km stretch to be knocked before they fall during the winter.

“It is rough, rocky terrain. The rain has got into the roots and weakened them. They will collapse the next time there is a storm. It is a very dangerous situation,” said Cllr Ryan. 

Barry Murphy, senior executive engineer with Limerick City and County Council, said all outdoor staff were confined to depots on the day of Hurricane Ophelia.

“At 4pm supervisors went out and assessed the situation. At 5pm all crews arrived at the location – there were eight, nine, 10 trees down. That was our highest priority. It would have been totally unsafe to go out before 4pm,” said Mr Murphy, who added that they have been in contact with a contractor to clear the trees.

His colleague, John Moloney, executive engineer, said there was a 1.2km stretch in total. He said it is hoped the work will be completed in a week’s time.

Cllr Ryan thanked Mr Murphy and Mr Moloney.

“It is better to prevent something happening,” said Cllr Ryan, who also praised ESB and Irish Water staff for their response to Hurricane Ophelia.