Warning for motorists as floods and ice wreak havoc
THE cold snap has caused chaos around the country, from treacherous driving conditions to people being trapped in their homes.
The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) yesterday offered to help clear minor roads of ice to allow householders trapped in their homes for days to get out for supplies.
Many rural homes in east Co Mayo, south Co Sligo, west Co Roscommon and north Co Galway have been cut off since before Christmas by a snowfall that later compacted into ice.
According to Gerry Murray, a Charlestown-based member of Mayo Council, the brief thaw earlier this week failed to bring relief to householders living in hilly, rural, areas.
Mr Murray welcomed an offer by the IFA to help in clearing minor roads of ice if they are provided with the required materials.
"Some roads are still impassable even to heavy vehicles such as tractors," he said.
Mayo County Council has set up a special number (094) 9034705 for emergencies.
Continuing treacherous road conditions in central Connacht and sub-zero temperatures have led to the cancellation of charity functions, bingo sessions, senior citizens' parties and other community events.
One sporting fixture that fell foul of the weather yesterday was the GOAL Mile in Claremorris, Co Mayo.
However, a New Year's Day swim in Enniscrone, Co Sligo, did go ahead despite the arctic conditions.
Six weeks after the worst flooding in Irish history, parts of the country again battled storm waters as drains and rivers failed to cope with the combination of torrential rainfall and melting snow and ice.
Floods caused havoc for shoppers and motorists planning New Year's Eve travel with roads either closed or extremely dangerous.
Worst-hit were counties Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Galway, Kilkenny, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow.
Cork city avoided the worst of the floods thanks to a low tide -- but parts of east and west Co Cork were badly hit as streams, rivers and drains were swamped by the deluge.
In Skibbereen the swollen River Ilen was simply unable to cope with the volume of water and floods erupted in various parts around the west Cork town. At one point, businesses and homes in the town centre were threatened.
Floods left low-lying parts of the Fermoy-Mallow Road extremely dangerous while there was also bad flooding on the Midleton to Lisgoold Road and the Fermoy-Mogeely-Killeagh Road.
Freezing conditions in Co Kerry saw the Conor Pass between Dingle and Tralee closed yesterday. A vehicle was reported to be stuck there for much of the day, but it managed to break free by the late afternoon.
Meanwhile, the north of the county, along the Co Limerick border, was also severely affected by snow and ice, as was the area east of Killarney.
Upland areas were fogbound for most of the day, making driving extremely hazardous.
In Co Donegal, road conditions were particularly dangerous around Letterkenny.
North and north-west
Roads around Letterkenny, particularly on secondary routes and around Co Roscommon, were all reported to be icy and hazardous. Motorists were urged to avoid higher roads into the Kinnitty Mountains in Co Offaly completely as they were impassable yesterday.
Around the capital, black ice created havoc for drivers, with many simply abandoning their vehicles at the side of the road and choosing to walk instead.
No one was killed but there were crashes at Rochfortsbridge, Co Westmeath, and at the Strawberry Beds and Tinkers Hill in Dublin. Drivers were urged to take extreme care on the M50 southbound from Ballinteer to the M11, to avoid the Malahide Road at Clarehall and the Tonlegee Road.
The Island Bridge, Chapelizod and Parkgate Street gates were closed in the Phoenix Park and gardai warned of icy conditions on Griffith Avenue.
Surrounding counties such as Louth, Westmeath and Kildare were also experiencing treacherous driving conditions and motorists were urged to avoid unnecessary journeys, particularly on untreated secondary routes.