Garda warning for speeding drivers as three killed on roads
GARDAI have sharply criticised motorists for speeding as a number of people lost their lives as a result of the weather.
In a weekend that saw three people killed on the roads, motorists continue to behave recklessly, putting themselves and others at risk, a garda spokesperson said.
Separately, a teenager died in Cork in a sledding accident, while a 30-year-old man in Mayo died shortly after falling on heavily on ice.
And Met Eireann warned yesterday that the Big Freeze will continue for the rest of the week, with a thaw only expected to arrive on Christmas Day.
With airports already closed across much of the UK because of freezing conditions, the Christmas travel plans of tens of thousands are in doubt.
Forecaster Joan Blackburn said daytime temperatures would reach 0C at best, with night-time temperatures expected to plummet to minus 10C in some places.
"The cold weather will stay with us up to Christmas Eve, then it becomes less cold from Christmas Day to December 27 with a thaw setting in," she said. "For the next few days, there'll be a lot of dry weather but there may be snow on Tuesday in Munster and Leinster.
"Night-time temperatures will be between minus 5C and minus 10C. Freezing fog will also be an issue."
Temperatures at Dublin Airport fell to minus 9.8C on Saturday, the coldest since 1961. Temperatures as low as minus 15C were recorded in some places with compacted snow.
Although Irish airports have remained open, many UK airports including Heathrow and Gatwick were shut for much of yesterday.
The north, north-west and west coast of England have been badly hit with snow, as has much of Scotland.
Some 17 gritters and snow ploughs are out in Mayo, eight are in Kerry and 20 are working in Cork county. Many councils have also supplied grit to local communities to help keep minor and regional roads open.
But Inspector John Ferris of the Garda Press Office said that despite conditions, motorists were behaving recklessly.
"There are some driving too fast and too close to the people in front," he said. "There is the potential for ice which is very serious. Conditions will vary from kilometre to kilometre. Leave plenty of space for the car in front. Pedestrians should wear high-visibility clothing and stop walking on the roads."
The warnings come after a male pedestrian died on the N11 at White's Cross, near Blackrock, Co Dublin, on Saturday.
A 35-year-old woman and her son (9) lost their lives in Louth after their car hit a wall; while two people died after falling into Dublin's Grand Canal.
The freezing weather continues to pose a problem for local authorities as salt supplies run low in Donegal, Cork, Galway, Roscommon, Cavan, Kerry, and Cork. Some 10,000 tonnes are in stock, with 26,000 tonnes due to arrive in Cork and Belfast on Wednesday or Thursday.
The Defence Forces are continuing to provide transport for healthcare workers and patients in Cork and the midlands, while troops are clearing snow and ice from footpaths.
Racing was cancelled in Navan and Thurles due to frozen tracks, along with today's meeting at Punchestown.
Most public transport services operated, albeit with minor delays. Water shortages remain a problem in most counties.
The freeze may force schools to close today, particularly those in rural areas where pupils have to travel on secondary roads.