A GARDA sustained minor injuries when a car driven by a suspected drink driver knocked her down yesterday afternoon.
The incident happened in the Ballymacool Estate in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, at 3pm after gardai responded to a report of alleged drink driving.
The garda stepped out on to the road and signalled the driver to stop but he failed to do so and she was knocked down, sustaining injuries to her hand.
The injured officer was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital but was released a short time later. A man was arrested at the scene and charged with drink driving and dangerous driving. Meanwhile, treacherous driving conditions caused many minor crashes yesterday.
Gardai have urged motorists to avoid all unnecessary journeys until the big freeze subsides.
Around the capital, there were crashes at the Strawberry Beds and Tinkers Hill. Two cars were also involved in a collision at Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath, but there were no fatalities.
Supplies of gritting salt are at dangerously low levels as local authorities struggle to cope with the t snow and ice.
The National Roads Authority said it was concerned that gritting supplies were running low in Donegal, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, and Clare.
"This is an historic cold snap and every county is feeling the strain," said a spokesman. He added that a shipment of 8,000 tonnes of rocksalt and sand mix would arrive in Limerick early next week.
Supplies usually come through Belfast from Britain, which is also experiencing an unprecedented demand for gritting salt. With supplies low, councils are concentrating on gritting national roads -- leaving many rural dwellers virtual prisoners in their own homes since before Christmas.
"The 34 local authorities are focusing primarily on the national routes. They comprise 5,000km of roadway out of a total of 100,000km, but they take 60pc of the traffic," explained the spokesman. "The Wicklow Gap is still in a dire condition as are other high mountains. People should avoid local roads as much as possible and stick to national roads."
Fine Gael TD Denis Naughten said some elderly people and families had been marooned in their homes for 10 days.
"Someone in government should wake up to the serious nature of this crisis and recall the Emergency Planning Office from its Christmas break," he said.
But AA Roadwatch spokes- man Conor Faughnan said it was unreasonable to expect the country to be able to cope when protracted periods of snow and ice were such a rarity.
He said it was not realistic to expect that the local authorities should be on permanent stand-by to deal with conditions such as we are experiencing.
"By and large local authorities have done reasonably well; this is not Chicago or Moscow or Scandinavia where they put on their snow chains and put the anti-freeze in," he said.