Tuesday 15 October 2019

Some schools face having to remain closed into next week

Children play in the snow in Sallins Railway Station, Co Kildare. Photo: Tony Gavin.
Children play in the snow in Sallins Railway Station, Co Kildare. Photo: Tony Gavin.
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Schools may not be able to reopen in all areas on Monday because of the ongoing disruption caused by weather.

While the worst of the blizzard has passed, Met Éireann forecasts of further snow, ice and low temperatures around the country will mean a slow return to safe conditions in many areas.

Rural schools in the regions worst hit by the extreme weather events are most at risk of a delayed return, although continuing uncertainty about unfolding events makes any prediction difficult.

Advice to schools to keep their heating on during this week's closure will have minimised the threat of frozen pipes, but some secondary roads may be impassable on Monday, raising the prospect they will be cut off to pupils and staff.

Séamus Mulconry, general secretary of the Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA), which represents 90pc of the country's 3,200 primary schools, said: "I don't think we will really know until Sunday what the outlook is for Monday."

As blizzard-like conditions approached Ireland earlier this week, the Department of Education directed all schools, as well as third-level institutions and colleges of further education, to close on Thursday and yesterday.

Hundreds were also closed on Wednesday.

By yesterday morning, the Government had stood down its advice to stay indoors, and by the afternoon Met Éireann had reduced the area covered by its Status Red warning to Dublin, Kildare, Wexford, Wicklow and Meath.


But even with the gradual improvement in temperatures and conditions, the sheer volume of snow that has fallen, and accumulated in high mounds in some places, means it will take time for all roads to clear, while a rapid thaw would raise the risk of flooding.

Depending on how the situation develops, the department may leave it to individual schools in certain areas to make their own decisions about whether to reopen on Monday.

A spokesperson said the situation was being monitored and they expected to be in a better position to advise about Monday following today's meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group.

Keep safe and warm, but if you are out in Storm Emma we'd love to see your photos and videos. Send by email to contact@independent.ie or Whatsapp to 0871847169

Irish Independent

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