Friday 19 January 2018

Water shortages and icy roads

Anita Guidera, Paul Melia, Louise Hogan and Anne Lucey

WATER rationing and treacherous road conditions combined to make it a difficult start to the New Year in many parts of the country.

North and North-West

Tankers were laid on at four locations across Co Leitrim yesterday as council staff battled against burst pipes and leakages in the most prolonged freezing spell for decades.

Residents were urged to check for leaks and wastage.

Leitrim County Council is turning off all water supplies between 11pm and 8am to conserve dwindling supplies.

In Donegal, water supplies are under strain in some areas, while Castlefin, Gortahork and Falcarragh also experienced shortages.

Motorists continued to be warned of dangerous driving conditions, particularly on secondary routes around Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, and on the N4 between Carrick-on-Shannon and Boyle.

In one week over Christmas, Sligo County Council spread 1,500 tonnes of salt on national primary and regional roads at a cost of more than €100,000.

The West

Residents, businesses and farmers have been urged to keep their water usage to a minimum as the big freeze continues. Galway County Council says it is continuing to monitor the situation closely, and some night-time restrictions may be placed on supplies.

"Efforts made by consumers so far have helped the council to restore water to many areas that have been affected over the last number of days," a spokesman said. Water supplies in areas off the Ennis Road in Gort have been disrupted, while water has been restored to most households on the mid-Galway water scheme.

The National Roads Authority (NRA) reported icy conditions on main roads including the N5 to Charlestown and the N6 to Loughrea.

The council urged all road users to only make essential journeys. Workers were salt gritting all the national routes but care was urged due to the dramatic temperature plunge.

Many residents in rural areas in south Co Sligo, east Co Mayo, west Co Roscommon and north Co Galway have found it difficult to travel from their homes due to extreme icy conditions on rural routes.

The South-west and South

Schoolchildren will be delighted to hear a call for Christmas break to be extended due to the "unprecedented" freezing weather.

Jackie Healy-Rae, the Kerry South TD, is planning to call on Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe to extend the festive holidays as he has been "inundated" with calls from parents fearful about travelling.

Heating and water provision in schools during the current cold snap must also be considered, a son of the TD, Councillor Michael Healy-Rae, said.

The Conor Pass between Dingle and Tralee remained closed due to freezing conditions. AA Roadwatch advised drivers to take extra care on the N69 Tralee/Listowel Road and the Listowel/Ballybunion Road.

Road conditions around Limerick City remained particularly treacherous, with ice reported on the Dock Road.

A blackspot was reported in Thurles, Co Tipperary, with a number of road crashes reported in the vicinity over the weekend.

Motorists were also advised to proceed with caution as there were reports of black ice around Cashel.

In Cork, Bus Eireann services were disrupted yesterday morning as all minor routes out of the city were described as treacherous, while there were delays on the route from Limerick to Dublin.

The Midlands

Water supplies were suspended overnight in most areas of Mullingar and the surrounding areas in Co Westmeath.

Westmeath County Council urged residents to conserve water due to the plunging temperatures on Lough Owel which supplies the water reservoirs.

AA Roadwatch reported severe icy conditions in Co Cavan, particularly on the N3 Dublin/Cavan Road and in the Bailieboro and Virginia areas of the county.

In Co Meath, the Skryne/ Ratoath Road was treacherous due to ice.

Outgoing president of the Irish Farmers Association Padraig Walshe said farmers in many parts of the country were being hit by freezing pipes which left them without water for animals and they also had trouble getting to some livestock as minor roads were treacherous.

Dublin and the South-East

Snow continued to cover large parts of Dublin, particularly the outer suburbs, with black ice and slippery stretches resulting in dangerous driving conditions.

Gardai advised motorists not to drive through the Strawberry Beds, Tinker's Hill and Knockmaroon Hill because of ice, while three gates to the Phoenix Park at Chapelizod, Islandbridge and Knockmaroon were closed.

Secondary roads and housing estates in most of the capital were described as treacherous, and with the big freeze forecast to continue for at least the next week conditions are unlikely to improve.

In Co Kildare, there were icy conditions reported, with gardai advising motorists to avoid the M7 between Naas North and Monasterevin due to extremely treacherous conditions. The council confirmed the area was gritted twice yesterday.

Sports events also fell victim to the weather. A jumps meeting at the racecourse in Naas was cancelled yesterday due to a covering of snow on the track.

Elsewhere, in Laois, the Mountrath to Clonaslee Road, known as the 'Cut Road' was described as impassable.

Motorists were urged to avoid the Wicklow and Sally Gaps as both were deemed impassable due to snow and ice. Further south, in Wexford, there was ice on the N11 at the Gorey Bypass and around Enniscorthy.

On New Year's Day, icy conditions on Bridge Hill, in Hacketstown, Co Carlow, brought both commuters and emergency services to a standstill. A van travelling down the hill then appeared to overturn as it tried to avoid the six stationary cars and the ambulance.

Irish Independent

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