Monday 24 September 2018

Emma’s clash with the Beast was a shock for snowflake generation

Liam Mulcahy pictured at the Forty Foot Sandycove, County Dublin this morning .Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Liam Mulcahy pictured at the Forty Foot Sandycove, County Dublin this morning .Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

IF THE country was a company, Ireland Inc would be reported as having undergone a disorderly wind-down.

At short notice, its internal infrastructure, including Government offices, failed to function. Short of taking in the roads (`Father Ted'-style), the instructions not to travel couldn't have been any clearer.

There was a run on the national currency...which apparently is now bread.

And the CEO, Leo Varadkar, made a moody statement telling workers the next 24 hours "are going to be a challenge for us".

But hopefully by the end of today we'll be able to say that the future for Ireland Inc looks positive.

Perhaps what's more remarkable than the fact that the Government called for a national shutdown is the fact that people listened.

Storm Emma latest: Safety advice to stay home withdrawn as blizzard conditions pass See the latest weather updates on Independent.ie: http://indo.ie/I2A930iI753

Posted by Independent.ie on Friday, March 2, 2018

By lunchtime yesterday, tourists wandering the streets of Dublin city centre were given an insight into what a car-free capital might look like.

And on Grafton Street it was Christmas Day without the lights.

But around the corner on Kildare Street, there was a group of officials and ministers in the now all-too-familiar emergency bunker. The decision to call a nationwide shutdown was not taken lightly.

Sources say there were a variety of views within the National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG), but the prevailing one was that this was a "life and death situation".

Stopping all public transport brought its own risks - but the decision was that it was unfair to ask drivers to ferry passengers in up to 50cm of snow.

Phrases like "carnage" and "deaths being inevitable" were used inside the privacy of the room - but never uttered in public.

Instead we were told about "public safety", "treacherous roads" and it being a "difficult time" for the country and the people who keep it open for business.

Over the past few days, those who remember 1982 have told stories of sending telegraphs home to let family know that they were staying in work.

Tractors rather than 4x4s were the machinery of choice, and weather forecasts could barely look beyond the horizon.

Dealing with Mother Nature is always unpredictable, but Met Eireann's Evelyn Cusack did her best this week.

She told a tale of the `Beast from the East' meeting `Storm Emma'. The relationship was very violent - one that would shock the snowflake generation.

At the NECG's final pre-blizzard briefing yesterday, Ms Cusack warned there was a "high degree of uncertainty".

It'll be bad, but she couldn't say how bad. There aren't weather maps or satellites that could tell them exactly how this would play out. Chairman of the NECG Sean Hogan defended its crisis management, saying: "I don't think we're overreacting."

Emma made landfall in the south before sweeping up the country. The Beast travelled in from the Irish Sea.

And by 4pm the country had heeded the warnings. Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, along with Mr Hogan and Ms Cusack, beat their own retreat to Buswell's Hotel across from Leinster House where they waited it out.

This evening the country faces a new challenge. The shops will be restocked, and in time roads will be cleared.

Local authorities, the Defence Forces and the Government must relaunch Ireland.

And the pressure will be on to do it in an orderly fashion.

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