DEbris in Leitrim Village after the tornado. Leitrim Observer via RTE

Tornado Strikes in Leitrim

It was nothing in scale like the fatal twisters that struck Tennessee over the weekend, but a village in County Leitrim did suffer serious damage after being hit by a tornado on Sunday.

The tornado was spawned by Storm Fergus, the second named storm to hit Ireland in just a few days. The first one was Storm Elin.

The localised tornado caused widespread damage to Leitrim Village.

The tornado hit the village in the northwest of the country on Sunday. Walls collapsed in homes, roofs were blown off and cars were destroyed. Power lines were also down. However, no-one was reported seriously injured during the freak weather event.

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Arriving in the village on Monday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “I think it’s only when you really see it you get an appreciation for the explosive force of a whirlwind, and that’s essentially what happened in this village yesterday.”

A clean-up operation is now underway with shocked locals emphasising that businesses and individuals affected will need government assistance – particularly in the run-up to Christmas.

“Immediately, the humanitarian scheme from the Department of Social Protection is open and that helps people who are affected if their homes are damaged with financial support,” said the taoiseach.

“Then as well as that, for those who couldn’t go home, the council has provided them with emergency accommodation as well if they needed it.

“But the next step really is to engage with the insurance companies, most people are insured, but it can take time for that money to come through. And we can put in place some businesses support in particular to help the businesses affected.

“Because there are people, obviously, who would have expected a very busy period in the run up to Christmas, they would have staff who would have planned in their minds money overtime and so on, those are the kind of things we can help with.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Adeline Guckian, who owns the Blueway Lodge and Leitrim Inn in the village, said: “I just ran down the street. I didn’t know what to expect. And when I seen, you know, all the emergency responders there, and the state of the village I was just shocked. It was like a war zone.”

She said everyone on the main street had been affected.

“It’s a complete mess out the back you know, when you see block walls knocked and windows blown out and fences down. It’s bad.”