Gardaí rescue dozens of motorists who failed to heed warnings

Senior garda warns drivers to stay off the roads on Friday unless it is an emergency

There was less than 15 rough sleepers on Dublin streets during the worst of Storm Emma according to the National Emergency Coordination Centre. Video: Merrion Street

 

Gardaí were called out to rescue dozens of motorists who failed to heed the warnings not to venture out during the most extreme weather overnight on Thursday.

Garda patrols were busiest in the greater Dublin area which saw some of the heaviest snowfall.

There were multiple callouts to motorists stranded in the Phoenix Park, Tallaght, Crumlin and Glencairn.

A senior garda on Friday warned drivers to stay off the roads unless it was an emergency.

Supt Tom Murphy told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland it had been a very busy night for the emergency services and, while most people heeded the status red alert, there were a number who ignored it.

Handbag on roof

He described one rescue where the snow was so deep gardaí had to ask the motorist to put her handbag on the roof of her car so they could locate the vehicle.

He told of another where a family took the children for a drive to see the snow and ended up stranded. There was another rescue of a motorist stranded outside Dublin Airport where they had parked to view planes landing.

“We would ask people not to use any vehicle unless it is an emergency,” Supt Murphy said.

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“There is no guarantee that their entire journey would be clear. We need to allow road crews to salt and grit to get the roads clear. We don’t need stranded cars causing problems.”

He urged anyone who was stranded, if they had not reached a place of safety, to remain in their car and to call 999.

‘Extremely treacherous’

Minister for Transport Shane Ross called on motorists to “use common sense and not risk their own safety”.

“I have been advised that road conditions are extremely treacherous and while local authorities are doing extraordinary work clearing snow and salting surfaces, obviously they will concentrate on the major arteries.

“Therefore, even though the advice to ‘stay at home’ has been lifted, I would strongly advise people to take only the most necessary of journeys. Please do not use the roads today unless you absolutely have to.

“Keep warm, keep safe, keep indoors and, if you can, relax and enjoy an unexpected long weekend.”

While snow ploughs and council gritting trucks are operating, the majority of regional and local roads are described as treacherous.

The AA said it was called out to 170 breakdowns on Thursday which was fewer than could be expected given the conditions.

Poor road conditions

“Thankfully the majority of motorists heeded the warnings to avoid non-essential travel and to be indoors by 4pm,” a spokesman said.

Roads remain treacherous throughout the country. Gardaí report that vehicles are getting stuck on the N7, within the Dublin county bounds, due to poor road conditions.

Motorists are turning back around to travel in the wrong direction to get off the carriageway.

Gardaí said conditions were quite poor on the on/off ramps from both the N7 and N4.

The majority of routes around Tallaght and Lucan are impassable due to ice and thick coverings of snow on the roads, with Lucan village and Liffey Valley inaccessible.

Gardaí in Clondalkin said there were dangerous and impassable roads around the area, with cars abandoned on a number of roads.

Heavy snowfall has been reported in Cork, particularly around Midleton, Bantry and the city.