Warning to 'snow tourists' in Sally Gap as abandoned cars vandalised
Roads at the Sally Gap in Co Wicklow should be closed in poor weather conditions or at least signed appropriately to warn “snow tourists” of the dangers they face, rescue organisations have said.
There are fears that more cars will be stranded in snow and ice this weekend.
Snow and ice in the Sally Gap area resulted in more than 100 people being rescued and 20 cars being abandoned by their owners last weekend. Some of the vehicles have since been vandalised and burned.
Volunteers from the Glen of Imaal Red Cross Mountain Rescue Team and the Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team have been stretched to breaking point to meet demand, organisers have said. The groups use 4x4 vehicles to rescue motorists but must leave the cars behind.
Brendan Beirne, public relations officer for the Glen of Imaal team, said the council must do more to warn “snow tourists” of the dangers involved in trying to drive in the area during snow and ice.
Some 46 people in one coach were rescued at the weekend, he said, as well as many passengers in private cars. Motorists drive up wanting to see the snow and then get stuck or slip and crash into ditches on either side of the narrow roads, he said. “At this point we feel very strongly the council should either close the road or put up appropriate signage,” he said.
He said he was particularly concerned by the number of families driving on the roads with very young children who have not been dressed to deal with the weather conditions.