Monday 21 January 2019

Services getting back to normal after Storm Emma

Bill Browne

Services across Cork have, for the most part, returned to normal after Strom Emma saw large swathes of the county experience the worst snowfalls experienced for three decades. 

Thanks to the combined efforts of county council workers, HSE staff and Irish Water personnel, disruption to services was largely kept to a minimum during the bad weather and have been gradually returning to normality over the past few days. 

The HSE said that it expects the majority of its services to be back up and running this week  but warned that the knock-on effects of Storm Emma may still be impacting on some of those. 

A HSE spokesperson said they will be in contact with people to reschedule cancelled appointments but that they expected the backlog would be putting additional pressure on both emergency departments and hospital admissions for the remainder of the week.

"For that reason, the HSE is asking people to consider whether they really need to go to an emergency department and if there is an alternative service they can avail of such as the urgent care centre in Mallow," said the spokesperson. 

"We have been working with the Gardaí, local authorities, other emergency services and other agencies, and we would like to thank all those for their effort, which helped us to keep essential services running in difficult conditions." 

Cork County Council said that staff worked through the week to deal with the impact of snow and ice, but warned that traffic restrictions may still be in operation in some elevated rural areas. 

"We would continue to ask members of the public to exercise caution and never assume that a road is safe. We would also ask motorists to be aware that some road surfaces may have hidden potholes due to the impact of this  prolonged period of cold weather," said a council spokesperson.

While some areas including Mallow, Fermoy Charleville did experience brief water shortages during the height of the storm, an Irish Water spokesman said that on the whole the North Cork region was relatively unaffected by the weather. 

However, he did say some reservoirs had experienced low levels due to people leaving taps running to avoid freezing. 

"We will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days and weeks and it may be necessary to impose restrictions on some supplies if reservoirs become depleted on order to avoid widespread outages," said the spokesman.

He said Irish Water was continuing to ask people to conserve water over the coming weeks as supplies are replenished. 

"We would request that people not run taps unnecessarily, takes showers instead of baths, ensure that outside taps are securely turned off and check for leaks," said the spokesman. 

He said that their contact centre was available 24/7 on 1850 278278 for customers to report outages and leaks.

"We would like to thank the public for their patience and support as we work to restore normal supplies as soon as possible."