| 2.4°C Dublin

Big freeze boom for plumbers, takeaways and travel agents

The big freeze last month resulted in plumbers and fuel suppliers being the most sought after businesses online.

Our coldest January in 45 years led to plumbing contractors, home heating oil contractors, garages and tyre companies featuring prominently on the list of top 20 searches on goldenpages.ie.



Treacherous

Takeaways came in at number 17 in the most popular search item table as many people opted against negotiating the treacherous conditions, while the most searched for details on goldenpages.ie were for doctors, as increased numbers fell ill due to the extreme cold.

People were also planning to escape the cold snap, with a 100pc increase from the previous month in searches for travel agents and tour operators.

The Government's new scrappage scheme also meant that there was an increased number of searches for new and used cars, a good sign for the beleaguered motor industry.

The position of searches for new vehicles reflects the recent announcement from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) that new car sales in January were up 5pc at 16,595 on the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the capital is still counting the cost of January's cold snap with one Dublin authority estimating that its clean-up and repair bill will top €1.6m.



Staggering

South Dublin County Council said it expects its road repair bill to reach €1m, and so far the cost of gritting the roads has reached €454,000 -- a staggering €310,000 more than last year, when the bill amounted to €144,000.

And with more bad weather expected in the next week to 10 days, south Dublin officials said it is in the process of replenishing its gritting material, and now has over 500 tonnes of salt, about two thirds of its capacity.

Councillors expressed their shock at the cost of the bad weather to the council, saying they did not realise it was that much.

Officials also said that, once the thaw arrived, a further and different set of responses were needed to address burst mains and pipes, water shortages and home heating problems as well as dangers posed by damaged road surfaces.

During the worst of the winter weather, between December 16 and January 13, South Dublin County Council said it spread more than 2,000 tonnes of salt and 700 tonnes of paving sand over 343km.

hnews@herald.ie


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