Thousands of people remain without electricity and water this morning, while water rationing may be imposed in some areas as the country struggles to recover from the ravaging Beast from the East.
National Emergency Co-Ordination Group (NECG) chair Sean Hogan revealed the scale of the ongoing problems as he warned that despite the thaw, the reality is that today “will not be a normal Monday”.
Speaking as the ESB and Irish Water confirmed more than 10,000 people were without water last night and thousands more without electricity, Mr Hogan said significant issues remain in counties Wexford, Wicklow, Kildare, parts of Cork, and other areas.
The scale of the storm’s impact was underlined last night as companies said the extreme weather cost them up to €500m, and as nurses called for the next two weeks to be declared an emergency as hospitals struggle with mounting delayed surgeries and appointments.
According to the NECG:
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation last night said the next two weeks should be declared a hospital emergency due to severe backlogs, while the Small Firms Association said the storms cost companies up to €500m.
While Met Éireann has said the worst is over, the thaw has also led to fresh concern over potential localised flooding in areas already affected by the extreme weather.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned volunteers may “find people dead in their homes” when isolated areas are cleared of snow and elderly people checked on. Speaking in Wexford after the NECG said in some areas workers have had to “use diggers and snow ploughs for six hours” to get to people, Mr Varadkar said: “There is the possibility that as we get out to people and clear the roads in isolated areas that we may find people dead in their homes. That’s what we could be facing.”