Galway city is due to get a consignment of salt to grit the roads despite the fact the thaw is over, a situation which has led to councillor Pádraig Conneely calling City Hall “a joke”.
However the Mayor of Galway Declan McDonnell has praised the work of Galway City Council staff in “keeping the city open and moving” during the cold snap, and the many local people who helped grit the roads around the city’s estates last weekend.
At Monday’s city council meeting, City Hall’s response to the recent cold snap, which saw footpaths and roads become dangerous due to the unprecedented and severe frost and ice, was discussed.
The Galway City Council came in for much criticism for not gritting the estates during the worst of the cold snap and Fine Gael councillor Pádraig Conneely described the response as “a joke, an absolute joke”.
He told the meeting that “residents were left imprisoned in their homes as the footpaths were frozen over” and he said the army should have been called in to assist with the gritting of footpaths.
He also drew attention to a report presented to councillors at Monday’s meeting which said that a consignment of salt, which was to be delivered last Wednesday was delayed “due to demand and more severe conditions elsewhere” but which is “now expected to the delivered this week”.
“Will somebody tell City Hall that the thaw has set in and that the freeze is over,” said Cllr Conneely. “We will be the only city getting salt this week, but what are we going to do with it? How much will it cost? Where are we going to store it?”
Most councillors expressed support for council staff who were gritting the city’s main roads from very early every morning, apart from Christmas Day. Most felt sand/grit supplies should have been made available to residents’ associations and estates much earlier than last weekend, but still welcomed the work that had been done.
“The city could have come to a standstill during the cold snap but it didn’t,” said Mayor McDonnellM
Mayor McDonnell also praised members from Mervue Utd FC who gritted the roads around the Mervue area, especially around the shops, credit union, and the church.
“That made it so much easier for people to get around,” he said. “It was fabulous to see that level of volunteerism and every one of them deserves praise for the work they did.”