Parents told to warn children against playing on frozen lakes
PARENTS were warned yesterday about the danger of their children playing on frozen canals, rivers and lakes.
Irish Water Safety chairman Frank Nolan warned the public that ice would crack under the weight of children playing on frozen water courses and that there was a danger of drowning.
"Children are especially at risk as they are attracted to playing on ice," he said. He warned parents that "there was no such thing as safe ice".
Also at risk are individuals who attempt to rescue others who have fallen through ice.
"Ice-related drownings often occur when the rescuer gets into difficulty attempting to rescue another person or a family pet."
He added: "Whereas a pet will often manage a scramble to safety unaided, regrettably, the owner may not."
Meanwhile, farmers are calling for payments to clear roads at black spots during severe weather conditions.
The Irish Farmers Association has called for a formal system where a number of farmers get contracts from each local authority to clear danger spots in rural areas.
They said this sometimes happened on an ad hoc basis but should move to a structured system as happens successfully in some UK local authorities.
They also want farmers to be indemnified against claims where they voluntarily keep roads, schoolyards and other public areas clear.
IFA President John Bryan said he was seeking a meeting with the National Emergency Response Committee to discuss the four-point strategy adopted by the IFA this week, aimed at alleviating the worst effects of the weather.
"Many of our members across our network of almost 1,000 branches have equipment available that can assist in keeping minor and secondary routes open," he said.
Freezing fog hung over Limerick yesterday with temperatures kept well below zero degrees.
While most parts of north Tipperary avoided snow over the last 24 hours, motorists were urged to drive with caution in the region. Some roads in north and west Clare were said to be treacherous.
Staff at Limerick racecourse are hoping that the bad conditions improve in the coming days after the first day of their four-day Christmas racing festival was abandoned.
Christmas delivery of Guinness to publicans in Castlebar, Co Mayo, yesterday brought cold comfort to drinkers -- some barrels were frozen solid.
Publicans who received the chilly consignment had to wait for the kegs to thaw out.
Due to the low temperatures throughout Co Mayo overnight, the salting of some primary road routes did not prove as effective as it should have.
"Some roads were still slippery despite an allocation of extra salt," Mayo county secretary John Condon said.
Salt was only effective in temperatures as low as -8C, Mr Condon said, but overnight temperatures in the region had gone as low as -16C.
A senior engineer with Donegal County Council warned yesterday of the dangers posed by icicles snapping off roofs and eaves.
Icicles are dangling precariously from eaves and roofs as the big freeze continues.
One shopper in Letterkenny had a lucky escape when an icicle broke off and narrowly missed her, Vincent Lynn said.
He also warned of the danger of snow falling from rooftops.
Temperatures across the north-west remained below freezing yesterday with hazardous driving conditions.
Drivers had to contend with icy conditions around Navan, Slane and Ashbourne. Compact snow around Dundalk and Drogheda continued to cause problems.
Packed snow on all routes in Carrickmacross was reported, particularly on the Carrickmacross to Kingscourt road. Motorists were warned of patches of ice at Virginia.
There were hazardous conditions on the M7, with traffic down to one lane between Portlaoise and Naas, and poor conditions on the Lanesborough to Roscommon road.
Snow and ice continued to cause chaos for motorists and bus commuters in the Dublin area yesterday. Compacted snow on the N11 Stillorgan road between Donnybrook and Foxrock made driving difficult.
Dangerous conditions persisted on Nutley Lane, Newtownpark Avenue and Kill Lane.
In Blackrock, icy conditions on Rock Road at Booterstown Avenue and on to Frascati Road, Stradbrook Road and Temple Hill were treacherous.
Hermitage Hill in Lucan was also dangerous and there were extremely poor conditions in Bray Town, Rahdown and Laragh.