Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned officials may "find people dead in their homes in the coming days" when isolated areas are cleared of snow and elderly people are checked on, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith.
Mr Varadkar said the "possibility" of deaths caused by the worst snow storms to hit Ireland since 1982 remains high and that it is too early to congratulate the country on avoiding any fatalities during the extreme weather event.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to Wexford town today, which was one of the country's worst-hit areas with snowfalls of more than six foot in some places, Mr Varadkar said volunteers and State groups have been vital in tackling the storm.
I’ve come to Wexford this afternoon to get an update on the response operation. Wexford is one of the worst hit areas in the country, and access to some areas remains very challenging. Response agencies are in crisis management mode here at the Local coordination Centre. pic.twitter.com/RCKCobuuPM— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) March 4, 2018
However, the Taoiseach said it is too early to give the fatalities all-clear.
"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 in the coming days. That's, I suppose, what we could be facing in the coming days," he said.
Mr Varadkar's comments came as the national emergency co-ordination group urged ongoing caution on roads, footpaths and in homes as the thaw sets in.
Speaking in Dublin, NECG chair Sean Hogan said while most transport services are returning to full operation, not all schools will re-open on Monday and that it "will not be a normal Monday".
Irish Water managing director Jerry Grant also said thousands of people remain without water and that shortages may take place, while the ESB said thousands more remain without electricity.