Storm leaves thousands of Irish homes without power

Thousands of homes across the Republic of Ireland have been left without an electricity supply due to a storm that brought winds of up to 150km/h (93mph).

Met √Čireann, the Irish meteorological service, issued a rare "status red" weather warning for severe winds in several counties along the west coast.

Power firm ESB Networks estimated that 15,000 customers have been affected by power cuts in Donegal, Cork, Killarney, Galway, Athlone, Tullow and Wexford.

It said it expected further power cuts.

"All available staff in the affected areas are being deployed and crews from other locations, not as badly affected by the storm, will also be travelling to assist in the restoration process," the company said in a statement.

"ESB Networks sincerely apologise to all customers who are without power."

County Donegal has been particularly badly hit with about 4,500 customers losing their electricity supply.

Donegal's Harry Blaney Bridge in Fanad has been closed as a precaution, with the council warning of high winds and flooding.

Met √Čireann's red weather warning remains in force until 14:00 local time on Thursday and it has forecast that the storm will strengthen in the coming hours.