WITH another big freeze on the way this weekend, Fine Gael Transport Spokesman Simon Coveney TD has called on the Government to immediately insist on local authorities preparing a co-ordinated emergency plan in advance of the weekend.
“We need to learn lessons from the recent extreme cold weather and act now, before the second cold spell hits. Forecasts predict that the next wave of cold weather could be just as severe.
“Ireland has three days to prepare itself. The Government needs to get planning now and the national emergency planning committee should meet immediately. As a priority, every local authority should prepare a new emergency plan.
“This time, the empowerment of local communities to salt and grit their own roads and housing estates should be a central priority in local authority planning.
“I’m suggesting that housing estates and villages should be provided with their own grit and salt containers. These could be topped up on a regular basis during freezing temperatures, by the local authority, so that communities can access salt and grit in their own estates.
“It may not be possible to target every estate in the country with a small stockpile of salt and grit, but certainly housing estates with steep access roads and ice-prone conditions can and should be prioritised.
“If local authorities need the assistance of civil defence and the armed forces, they should be mobilised. The NRA should be centrally purchasing salt stocks to provide to local authorities, to work with local communities, in advance of further freezing conditions this winter.
“We need to prepare when the weather is good, in order to minimise the negative effects of freezing weather,” he said.