First responders and staff of various services who worked tirelessly during Storm Emma and The Beast from the East snowstorm were honoured at Wexford County Council on Monday morning.
Representatives from the four district councils spoke about how the weather conditions affected their own respective areas while County Council Chairman John Hegarty commended all those who went above and beyond to keep vital services running and assist those who were in difficulty.
The event was broadcast live by South East Radio as part of its 'Morning Mix' programme.
The storm, he said, was an unprecedented weather event but one that showed the strength of community spirit across the county.
Members of the Civil Defence, the Defence Forces, the Ambulance Service, the Garda Siochana, Irish Water, the IFA, Fire Service and the HSE were all in attendance to speak about the challenges they faced during the storm and subsequent clean-up.
About 16 staff members from Wexford County Council, predominantly those who lived in town and were able to walk to Carricklawn, manned the phones of the Emergency Response Unit for the four days, including Saturday and Sunday. Over the course of those four days, they dealt with over 1,500 calls. 60% of those were in relation to clearing roads, 30% were seeking help for medical reasons, and the rest centered around cuts to water, power and other services.
Minister of State Paul Kehoe commended all those who had risked their lives over the course of the few days to ensure that services were maintained. These people, he said, were the real heroes and highlighted community at its very best. He added that he was delighted to bring the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar to Wexford so he could see firsthand the devastation the storm had left, and also to meet the volunteers, ambulance personnel and others who were working through the storm.
Cllr Hegarty rounded off the morning by thanking each and every member of the community who had helped during the storm.