ESB crews are still working in the West and North West to try to restore power to more than 2,000 homes following the worst storm of the winter.

A spokeswoman said it was now unlikely that all of the homes would be re-connected before morning. The work will continue for several more hours despite extremely bad weather conditions.

Winds gusting close to 100 miles per hour brought down power lines over a wide area from Galway to Donegal. Power is still out in Falcarragh, Buncrana and Killybegs.

Aranmore Island is also without electricity despite the efforts of a repair crew which went to the island by ferry this afternoon. The crew succeeded in restoring power for a brief period but the supply broke down again this evening.

Falling trees caused traffic problems on some roads, but structural damage has been relatively minor so far.

The gales meant that the entire West Coast fishing fleet was forced to remain in port. For farmers, it was a morning of hardship and hard work. The worst gusts of the morning were recorded at Malin Head, where winds reached 98 miles an hour.

In Britain, seven people were killed during the severe weather. Winds reached speeds of up to 120 miles per hour in Scotland. Travelling was described as treacherous and a number of roads in the North of England were forced to close. Five deaths were caused by overturning lorries.

Nearly all rail services were cancelled after a train carrying 120 people was hit by a tree. Over 100,000 people were left without electricity.