Dozens of flights cancelled as heavy snow hits Ireland

Snow and ice lead to treacherous driving conditions across much of country

Snow falling   in Athy, Co Kildare on Sunday. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Snow falling in Athy, Co Kildare on Sunday. Photograph: Laura Hutton

 

Dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed at Dublin Airport as airlines struggled with de-icing of their aircraft after snow and heavy rainfall yesterday.

A spokeswoman for the Dublin Airport Authority said that the airport had remained open and operational all day, but that issues with de-icing meant that some aircraft had not been able to leave their alloted stands.

De-icing is carried out by airlines, not the airport. According to flight data, some departures were running up to four hours late last night. Passengers were being kept on aircraft which had arrived and were waiting for slots on stands, sources said. Many passengers on social media complained that they had been left on the apron at Dublin airport for an hour or more.

There were no issues reported at Shannon or Cork airports

In a statement, Aer Lingus said that in total it cancelled 12 flights due to the conditions in Dublin, added to high winds in the UK. Ryanair had not responded to a request for comment at time of going to press.

Travel disruption at the airport came after the country was hit with heavy snow, near-freezing temperatures and heavy rainfall on Sunday, with a status yellow snow-ice warning put in place nationwide by Met Éireann.

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The warning is valid until 8am on Monday.

Several major roads were closed for periods, including the N80 between Portlaoise and Stradbally, while the N81 in Dublin was impassable for a time.

AA Roadwatch reported long tailbacks and extremely poor driving conditions on the M7, M8 and M9 due to snowfall in the late afternoon and early evening. Around the country, especially at motorway toll booths, tailbacks took some hours to clear.

A section of the M8 was closed for a time between junction three and junction four following an incident. As conditions eased in the evening, AA Roadwatch reported collisions being cleared and roads being reopened.

The Sally Gap was closed on Sunday night due to dangerous road conditions, while the roads through the Wicklow gap were also very poor, the AA said. There were also poor road conditions in Offaly, Meath, Tipperary and Limerick.

Met Éireann warned that roads would become icy overnight as temperatures fell below freezing.

In Kildare, where much of the heaviest snowfall occurred, motorists were urged to concentrate on the road rather than recording videos of snow falling as they drive.

This time last year Ireland was in the grip of the heaviest snow storm in decades when the so-called Beast from the East shut the country down for a number of days. Twelve months later and after the mildest winter on record, conditions are a little more forgiving, however Sunday’s weather showed that there is still the capacity for a sting in the tail during Spring time.

Showers were predicted to affect western coastal counties overnight, some of them heavy with a risk of hail and thunder.

Lows of minus 1 to plus 2 degrees Celsius were forecast overnight.