Commuters’ icy meltdown

NIGHTMARE: Buses, planes, cars are all hit

DRIVERS were forced to abandon their cars as chaos gripped the capital today.

Four-hour tailbacks were reported on routes which would normally take 30 minutes.

Commuters found conditions on the M50 and N11 particularly difficult.

Meanwhile, two deaths – one in Dublin and the other in Cork – have so far been attributed to the biting cold and ice.

Dublin Airport was forced to shut down early today, causing long flight delays.

Hundreds of schools across the country have been closed for a third day, while many bus services were curtailed.

And the bad news is that things are set to get even worse, with temperatures forecast to plummet as low as -12C.

Met Eireann’s weather warning remained in operation today, with further heavy snow showers falling.

AA Roadwatch warned motorists today to avoid some areas completely, such as Knockmaroon Hill, near Chapelizod, while there were extremely heavy delays into Castleknock.

Roads were dangerous around Liffey Valley, the Fonthill Road, Terenure, Firhouse, Ballinteer, Leopardstown, Ballymount and many other places.


Dublin city engineer Michael Phillips said today that one of the lanes of Patrick Street was “very bad”.

“The M50 between Ballinteer and the N81 is very, very slow. If people could avoid that area it would be appreciated or allow plenty of time to travel on it.

“Our trucks have been out salting since 3am on a continuous basis so the roads are clear into the city,” he added.

Speaking about the massive delays yesterday evening, Mr Phillips said the Sandyford ramps from the M50 “created a problem late yesterday evening”. The N11 was badly affected too.

Mr Phillips attributed the difficulty to “very localised cold spots” which “suddenly appear”.

Mr Phillips insisted the council has “no problem” with grit supplies. The National Roads Authority (NRA) was given the task obtaining salt for all the local authorities. Between the four councils in Dublin there are up to 750 people gritting the footpaths as well.

Siobhan Moore, the spokeswoman for the Dublin Airport Authority, said two very heavy snowfalls overnight in quick succession meant “the main runway had to be withdrawn from service”.

This allowed for the snow and ice to be cleared, and the runway opened again at about 7.30am today.

A number of the early morning transatlantic flights were diverted to Shannon Airport but were given priority to come in once the way was clear.

Elsewhere, Gatwick Airport in London closed this morning for snow clearance.

London’s Heathrow and Stansted airports remained open. Edinburgh Airport was closed and was expected to open at midday.


Andrew McLindon of Bus Eireann said the vast majority of its services were operating.

“We are maintaining as many services as possible around the country,” Mr McLindon said.

Cliodhna Ni Fhatharta of Dublin Bus said that the company had many curtailments and diversions today.