It's snow joke - get ready for next round of the Big Freeze

Clodagh Sheehy

EMERGENCY plans to deal with sub-zero temperatures, iced roads and extreme weather are being put in place by the Government.

Ministers are preparing for the worst type of winter -- with more than three times the salt stocks needed to grit key roads if the mercury plunges past freezing.

They have urged the public to Be Winter Ready and have put up advice on a website dedicated to bad weather preparations at

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, outlining plans at the National Emergency Co-Ordination Centre in Dublin, said the priority would be to keep motorways and the national road network open.

Public transport services including the airports would also be top of the agenda

The Transport Minister admitted an event like hurricane Sandy would still overpower contingency measures.

"We are better prepared than ever before. But as we've seen from the events in the US, no government is more powerful than Mother Nature".


Met Eireann's Ger Fleming said there is no sign of any severe weather over the coming weeks, but he pointed out that forecasters cannot reliably predict beyond three weeks.

The National Roads Authority and councils have bought an extra 50,000 tonnes of salt.

This brings the stock to 210,000 tonnes of salt stored at eight depots -- around 60,000 is needed for an average winter.