Monday 21 January 2019

Like 'wolves in the snow' - there were thefts during 1982 blizzards

An article on the front page of the Irish Independent on January 9, 1982, detailed the looting in the capital
An article on the front page of the Irish Independent on January 9, 1982, detailed the looting in the capital
Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

It was an age before social media, but looting around Dublin dominated newspaper headlines the last time the country was hit with such massive snow.

Almost four decades ago, in 1982, the country was hit with a 36-hour storm on January 8 and 9 which affected the east of the country worst, including the capital.

The army was drafted in to deal with 'the Big Snow' which was wreaking havoc on the nation. There was "widespread looting and wrecking of abandoned cars" over the space of three days following the blizzard, according to the Irish Independent front page of Tuesday, January 12.

The Kevin Street area, as well as Clondalkin and Finglas, saw several incidents of vandalism.

Two CIE buses were burned in Finglas and there were reports of a significant number of car thefts.

Gerard O'Regan, who later became editor of this newspaper, wrote that it would cost local councils hundreds of thousands of pounds. Gardaí at the time were said to be incredibly shocked at the wanton vandalism.

One Garda spokesman told the Irish Independent: "They behaved like wolves in the snow.

"I've lost all faith in human nature after what I've seen over the weekend."

The gardaí were reportedly extremely hard-pressed due to the extreme weather and having to deal with a high volume of emergency calls in the severe conditions.

In one cruel incident, "most of the possessions of a Dublin family who had to abandon a removal van as they were moving house over the weekend were stolen leaving a husband, wife and three children without thousands of pounds worth of property".

The newspaper reported that gardaí feared the extent of the damage would become even more apparent, once the deep snows thawed.

"Hundreds of cars and vehicles still lie abandoned - some for five days now - and their drivers have still to reach them. Many may well have been broken into in the meantime.

"In Dundrum, Co Dublin, teenagers were brazenly pulling a car apart in Taney Road as hundreds of people walked by, ignoring what was happening.

"At the Hole in the Wall in Donaghmede, gardaí reported six cars looted after being abandoned in snow drifts," the report added.

Irish Independent

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