Big storm is brewing as met team face threat of lawsuit
Anita Guidera A FURIOUS tourism boss has threatened to sue Met Eireann for an inaccurate forecast which he claimed kept hundreds of visitors away from the northwest last weekend.
In what could be the first case of its kind, hotelier and chairman of North West Tourism, Sean McEniff has instructed his lawyers to look into the possibility of taking the national weather forecaster to court for alleged loss of revenue for Co Donegal.
But the Met Office is insisting that the severe weather warning issued last Wednesday was accurate.
Mr McEniff hit out after a fine weekend, where scarcely a single snowflake fell despite predictions of blizzard-like conditions.
He claimed that adverse forecasts had led to cancellation of conferences and room bookings in a number of hotels in Donegal.
"A major conference in Letterkenny was cancelled because of the weather. There was also a conference in Gweedore where a number of main speakers refused to travel because of the weather forecasts," he claimed.
The hotelier also lost out in his own businesses in Bundoran when less visitors than expected converged for a major musical event.
"There was damn all snow in Donegal. The Met Office has shafted us. It's a different thing when they start to hit us in the pocket," he said. "This carry-on is not on. They have no respect for the north west. We fight hard to get a conference and then you lose it because of wrong information."
Chairman of Donegal County Council, Dessie Larkin claimed the forecast created a perception of Donegal being gripped by a second ice-age.
"I know that forecasts are what the name implies, but surely it would be possible for the Met Office to put out frequent updates if the weather that is being predicted does not materialise," he said.
Responding to the criticism, Head of General Forecasting at Met Eireann, Michael Walsh insisted that the severe weather warning had been accurate.
He pointed out that the warning was issued on Wednesday to take effect at 12 midday on Thursday through to Friday and not over the weekend. Winds off the Donegal coast were gusting up to 125km per hour on Friday, he added.