The county continues to cope with dealing with the severe cold snap — many householders continue to remain isolated; without water as pipes have burst, and struggle to get to work as roads remain hazardous. The forecast for the rest of the week predicts further prolonged cold spells, with road temperatures below zero, snow, ice, and wintry showers — making it the most prolonged cold spell in Ireland since 1963.
Council has enough gritting materials
According to Mayo county secretary John Condon the council has gritted county, national, and regional roads where the “vast bulk of traffic” flows every day since the commencement of the cold snap, apart from Christmas Day.
Mr Condon said that resources — both manpower and salt stock levels — are in supply and the council continues to obtain gritting materials from a variety of different sources. The cost for the entire year according to the county secretary is around €1 million, however this “varies depending on how many cold spells” there would be in a year.
Due to the added cost this year of gritting county roads Castlebar town councillor Ger Deere has this week urged Environment Minister John Gormley to permit local authorities to use beach sand for salting roads thus preventing the spending of millions of euro.
Accidents on Mayo roads
According to a Garda spokesperson for the county there have been 10 minor incidents, mostly on secondary roads, since Monday of this week. Road safety officer with Mayo County Council Noel Gibbons has advised road users who must venture on the roads to “drive carefully, with smooth, gentle application of accelerator, steering and, particularly, brakes. If the vehicle starts to skid, gently lift off the accelerator and steer in the direction of the skid.”
Due to adverse weather conditions in Mayo on Tuesday morning Ireland West Airport Knock was forced to close. The airport reopened on Wednesday, however many flights to UK destinations were cancelled due to severe weather in UK airports. On Thursday morning the airport announced that it would once again close operations for the day.
Most Bus Éireann services operated with some delays as did Irish Rail, however Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny queried the overcrowding on the Westport to Dublin train on January 2, where the train was full leaving Westport and those who had pre booked and those who had purchased tickets could not board. Buses and taxis were put in place and Dep Kenny acknowledged that “severe weather conditions played a part in adding to the number of people travelling by public transport.”
Many schools which were to open yesterday (Thursday ) decided to remain closed until Monday bearing the safety of students in mind.
Mayo General Hospital inundated
Figures obtained from the HSE this week showed that more than 200 patients have presented to Mayo General Hospital with injuries related to falls during the current period of icy weather. The falls have occurred at different types of location but many of them have happened at the individual’s own home.
The HSE also issued a statement to remind the public to visit their elderly relatives and neighbours during the current cold weather.
Local Fine Gael TD John O’Mahony has blasted the Government’s response to the thousands of people trapped in their homes around rural Ireland as a result of untreated roads. He said the Government has been completely insufficient and lacking in empathy
“It is intolerable that the first response by Government on the lethal state of roads around the country has been to blame local authorities for the manner in which they spent their allocation of emergency funding,” Dep O’Mahony said.
“If the Government had not been so wasteful in recent years it would have the financial flexibility to deal with lethal roads and flooded countryside. Both of which have led to acute isolation.”