Bray People - - NEWS -

COUN­CIL­LORS re­ceived a de­tailed re­port on the re­cent se­vere weather at Mon­day’s monthly meet­ing with pre­sen­ta­tions on roads and wa­ter and from the Fire Ser­vices and Civil De­fence.

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Frank Cur­ran ex­plained that Wick­low County Coun­cil’s Se­vere Weather Co­or­di­na­tion Group first met on Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 23, af­ter a se­vere weather warn­ing had been is­sued. The group con­sisted of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from An Garda Siochana, HSE, Fire Ser­vice, Civil De­fence and Coun­cil Staff and was chaired by Mr Cur­ran.

They met nine times in to­tal, as well as en­gag­ing in phone calls and reg­u­lar con­fer­ence calls.

Twelve se­vere weather press re­leases were is­sued in all, while Twit­ter and Face­book ac­counts were con­stantly up­dated.

Boil notices were is­sued for Aughrim-An­nacurra and Barn­dar­rig due to fail­ures with chlo­rine pumps. Very few leaks were ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing the height of the snow, with En­niskerry, Grey­stones and Donard the only ar­eas to ex­pe­ri­ence burst pipes. Some re­stric­tions to the sup­ply of wa­ter to Dublin im­pacted on Bray and Grey­stones, but not for long.

Three houses on Cas­tle Street in Wick­low town suf­fered flood­ing on Fri­day af­ter sea wa­ter came over the walls. The lo­cal au­thor­ity is en­gag­ing with the OPW about car­ry­ing out im­prove­ments.

A boat sank at Ark­low Har­bour due to the weight of snow. Wick­low Re­cy­cling Cen­tre suf­fered some flood dam­age, while the roof of Bray Re­cy­cling Cen­tre was also dam­aged.

The N11 was kept open to a min­i­mum of at least one lane for the du­ra­tion of the snow. Even by last Mon­day, there were still sec­tions of the N81 which hadn’t been fully re­opened yet. Wick­low County Coun­cil was able to de­ploy 12 lor­ries with snow ploughs and 1,500 tonnes of salt. Ninety items of hired plant ma­chin­ery were also in use.

Chief Fire Of­fi­cer Ai­dan Dempsey said changes were made when it was an­nounced that the pub­lic should stay in from 4 p.m. on the Thurs­day af­ter a Red Weather Warn­ing was is­sued.

‘It was sug­gested and agreed that all Fire Ser­vice mem­bers would man their sta­tions for the du­ra­tion of the night so we would have quicker re­sponse times. We were also in con­stant com- mu­ni­ca­tions with the HSE ser­vices, the Gar­dai and the lo­cal au­thor­ity.’

The Fire Ser­vices had to re­spond to two road col­li­sions, the res­cue of two mo­torists, two house fires, one out­door fire and help­ing two ca­su­al­ties to their am­bu­lance.

The Fire Ser­vices pumped out wa­ter from prop­er­ties on Strand Street in Wick­low town, as well as pro­vid­ing sand bags.

‘ The con­di­tions con­tin­ued to be chal­leng­ing through­out but we were sup­ported thor­oughly by other agen­cies,’ said Mr Dempsey.

Civil De­fence Of­fi­cer Michael Richard­son said all mem­bers were on standby from Mon­day, Fe­bru­ary 26, and re­mained so for 11 days.

Twenty-six vol­un­teers were avail­able on a shift ba­sis with five 4X4 ve­hi­cles in op­er­a­tion. The Civil De­fence took over 300 calls and trans­ported es­sen­tial staff to a num­ber of hos­pi­tals, while also trans­port­ing pa­tients for dial­y­sis treat­ment.

‘We had to evac­u­ate res­i­dents from prop­er­ties with no power and no wa­ter. We had to bring some dial­y­sis pa­tients for treat­ment in the morn­ing and then col­lect them again later that day. We also as­sisted Wex­ford Civil De­fence by meet­ing them at Jack Whites, bring­ing the pa­tients to hos­pi­tal and them meet­ing Wex­ford Civil De­fence back at Jack Whites,’ said Mr Richard­son.

At one stage, Wick­low Civil De­fence bor­rowed a Häg­glund track ve­hi­cle from Dublin Civil De­fence so they could gain ac­cess to a prop­erty in Manor Kil­bride whose boiler was cov­ered by snow.

Coun­cil­lors praised the Se­vere Weather Co­or­di­na­tion Group’s re­sponse to the snowy con­di­tions, but were less en­am­oured with so called ‘snow tourists.’

Cllr Shay Cullen said: ‘Snow tourists caused a lot of dif­fi­cul­ties for work­ers try­ing to clear up the roads. You had peo­ple com­ing into the up­lands in their Jeeps and cars and get­ting stuck. More im­por­tantly, they were stop­ping the progress of the work be­ing car­ried out.’

Cllr Ni­cola Law­less said: ‘Snow tourists are our big­gest bane. I don’t un­der­stand why peo­ple have to go up to the Sally Gap to see snow when there is al­ready plenty of snow on the low­lands.’

A snowy Lake Drive in Bless­ing­ton.

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