Why is life brought to a standstill by weather?

Not for the first time, our capital city was brought to a standstill by the weather. Snow stalled normal life for weeks last winter -- and the authorities defended themselves at the time on the grounds that this was highly unusual weather.

This time, rain was the culprit.

Yes, there was a record rainfall -- but yet again, we weren't prepared for it.

Motorists were forced to abandon their cars as streets and roads flooded. Public transport in a city of one million people was in serious trouble well before a large number of people had left work for the day.

Families were left desperately trying to save their homes -- and themselves -- from rising waters.

Most seriously of all, a brave young garda was swept away, apparently trying to warn others away from dangerous flood waters.

But why are the authorities never prepared for these events?

Where were the public service announcements that we were going to get rain at record levels?

Where were the crews clearing gutters and providing sandbags?

And why wasn't more use made of our well-trained army in to help out? It really isn't good enough that in the 21st century we can't cope with a bit of weather.

A Government minister must now bring the Met office, local authorities, Army, Gardai, transport providers and other emergency services together for a serious talk on what must be done to keep the country running during bad weather.

If that doesn't happen, God help us if we get a bit of snow this winter.