Tuesday 16 July 2019

29 tonnes of coal and 200 dinners

Maria Herlihy

Duhallow folk were determined to being kept nice and toasty during the recent double weather whammy with one fuel merchant selling a staggering 29 tonnes of Columbian coal.

John Casey of Casey Fencing and Fuels at Allensbridge in Newmarket told The Corkman that people were buying 40kg bags of his Columbian coal with last Thursday being particularly “crazy” as Storm Emma was en route.

"People were buying more that they bought in the run up to Christmas. I have never seen the likes of it," said John. 

"They were buying Columbian coal, which has always been my best seller, along with firewood, briquettes and gas. On Thursday, it was particularly crazy.

By Thursday evening I had run out of Columbian coal but I have an artic load of coal back in stock now again," he said. 

Mr Casey said in the space of two weeks he sold 29 tonnes of coal with the vast bulk of it sold between Tuesday and Thursday last week when the strong weather warnings were issued about the Beast from the East and Storm Emma. 

"People definitely took the warnings about the weather, but I do think a lot of people were panic buying as well. I was far busier than in the run up to Christmas when there is always a jump in sales. I was totally flat out," he said. 

He said that normally his Tuesdays at work can be quiet but once the weather warnings were issued,people of all ages made their way to Mr Casey's to stock up. 

Meanwhile at the Duhallow Community Food Services (DCFS) at IRD Duhallow, the elderly people of the region were well catered for by the excellent manager Orlaith Tompkins and her hard working team. 

When the weather warnings were issued, Orlaith and five other staff went to work at 5am on Wednesday morning and prepared dinners for 200  people, many of which are elderly and living in isolated regions. 

"It meant that each person had five different dinners for five days. We did a massive bulk cook of the old time favourites such as bacon and cabbage, and then turkey, beef, stew, and  fish, and this was all served with mash and vegetables. We blasted each meal so it would preserve and be fresh for the five days. Everyone also got a desert as well for each day," she said.

 Then on Wednesday evening,the team set about delivering to each home in high altitude regions such as  Rockchapel, Meelin, Lyre, Donoughmore, Brosna, Mountcollins and Tournafulla with the worry that they might be more difficult on Thursday. Then on Thursday they did 50 more deliveries throughout Duhallow. For a dinner and a desert it costs €6. 

"We had prepared for the worst and many of our clients are elderly people living in isolated rural areas and they were delighted to see us coming with their dinners for five days. You really cannot have an elderly person eating just bread and cheese for five days, they need good nutritious food," she said. 

At the DCFS there is also an excellent restaurant where some people opted to drive to and stock up on dinners. There was also some orders for freshly baked soda bread and scones. 

When asked if it was a case of "breadmania" for orders, with a smile Orlaith said they didn't have a huge rush with people ordering bread and scones, as many were more interested in having their dinner.