Army defends decision not to clear footpaths
SOLDIERS in Defence Minister Willie O'Dea's native Limerick refused to clear footpaths during the big freeze because they did not consider the task an emergency.
Officials at Limerick County Council were told by the Defence Forces that troops were not available to clear pavements -- except in special circumstances, like outside hospitals. Director of Roads and Water Services, Paul Crowe, said the council asked for help to clear footpaths at a special meeting.
"We discussed the issue and representatives of the Defence Forces who were present made it clear to us that the clearing of the snow from the footpaths would not have been deemed to be an emergency in their eyes."
However, an army spokesman said the council had made no official request for help clearing pavements.Mr Crowe agreed that the council had not made a formal request.