IFA Deputy President-elect Eddie Downey has called on Environment Minister John Gormley, National Roads Authority Chief Fred Barry and the County and City Managers Associations to immediately take action to rectify the inadequate response to the cold weather.
He said, “Rural Ireland is currently paralysed by the response of the authorities to the snow and
freezing road conditions. Failure to carry out gritting has left many areas inaccessible, forced the cancellation of social events and medical visits by District Health Nurses while many areas have no transport or postal services. At this stage schools that were due to re-open this Thursday are likely to stay closed as parents will not risk travelling the country roads.”
“The be patient and it will be ok response from the National Roads Authority is inadequate and unacceptable. A road salting and snow-clearing plan must now be put in place that sets out when and how every road from motorways to local roads will be gritted and cleared. In the short term, each County Council must provide roadside grit heaps on request, which will allow local people treat trouble spots on regional and secondary roads to avoid a repeat of the hardship facing rural Ireland at this time. For the future, local authorities should also contract local farmers to carry out this salting and road clearing. This already happens in the UK, with over 200 farmers contracted in some counties.”