Winter weather measures revealed by the Government
Minister for Transport doubles the amount of salt available to clear Irish roads
The Government has doubled the amount of salt available to clear Irish roads this winter. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto
The Government has doubled the amount of salt available to clear Irish roads and is preparing more than 200 extra emergency beds for rough sleepers as part of plans to ensure the State can cope with severe weather this winter.
The measures were outlined to reporters on Wednesday at the launch of the Government’s Be Winter Ready information campaign at the National Emergency Co-ordination Centre in Dublin.
Advice for the public on how to handle severe weather events from a number of State agencies, including the Garda, the HSE, the Office of Public Works and transport providers, is being made available on the campaign’s website.
The advice has been categorised under various headings, including the home, road safety, schools, farming and business.
Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe said the measures were a “a whole-of-Government approach” to winter preparation.
“It’s a very demanding time for everyone, including the emergency services,” he said.
“We are committed to building a national resilience to weather emergencies as they occur. Well-prepared local plans are vital.
“One of the most notable features of last year’s severe weather was its longevity, with some flooding lasting until April.”
Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said it was “important that everyone prepare for the worst that can hit us.
“This is sensible advice and it would be foolish to ignore it and possibly be exposed to unnecessary risks,” he said.
“This is about ensuring de-risking the winter months and ensuring the misery the weather can inflict is minimised.”
Mr Coveney said adverse weather events cost the State €100 million last year.
“People called it a once-in-a-100-year event, but most of us know we won’t be waiting another 99 years for weather like that,” he said.
Responding to a question on protecting the homeless this winter, Mr Coveney said his department was preparing an additional 210 emergency beds for rough sleepers. “I hope to have them available by December 9th,” he said.
“I am determined there will be a bed available for everyone that wants one. Money, I can assure you, is not the issue.”
Meanwhile, Minister for Transport Shane Ross said the increase in road deaths this year was “striking and disturbing”.
He said there would be 240,000 tonnes of salt available this year to clear roads, compared with the 94,000 tonnes available last year and the 130,000 tonnes available during the severe winter of 2010-2011.
Mr Ross said the increased number of road deaths may be because the “level of alcohol is increasing among young people”, adding that the reasons for the fatalities “will have to be addressed and very urgently”.