Motorway closed as ice causes multiple crashes

TREACHEROUS weather conditions led to scores of accidents throughout Cork yesterday, the worst of which resulted in the closure of the county’s only motorway.

Gardaí were forced to close the M8 at Fermoy after 14 separate accidents were reported on the southbound carriageways.

Nobody was seriously injured in the accidents or in a six-car pile-up on the Glanmire bypass near Dunkettle.

The M8 was closed for two hours as emergency services removed the wreckage and detours were put in place through Glanmire, Watergrasshill and Rathcormac.

Most of the accidents occurred from 8am to 9am as people travelling to work were unaware rain had covered black ice on the roads.

Six cars were involved in crashes on the Ballincollig bypass and a similar number ended up sliding off the road into earth embankments.

In Youghal, east Cork, parts of what is believed to be an asbestos roof blew off the old Hill Top Hotel in yesterday’s storms, landing on a nearby holiday caravan park.

Local councillor Barbara Murray (FG) said: “It’s an asbestos roof and the sections were from what we think was the old bedroom block.

“The caravans are next to the hotel but we don’t know how much debris has blown off or whether there’s any damage.”

The councillor is trying to contact the owners of the 1970s-built boarded-up hotel and is also planning to meet the proprietor of the caravan park early today.

In Maryborough Hill in Douglas, Cork, slates blew off the roofs of homes at a development. No one was believed to be hurt.

Elsewhere in Co Cork gardaí were called to a four- car pile-up on the road between Drimoleague and Dunmanway.

Other minor accidents were also reported in Bandon and Clonakilty, while gardaí in Blarney dealt with four accidents on the main Cork-Mallow road, one of them a four-car pile-up.

Again there were no serious injuries reported.

Gardaí said many of the accidents could have been avoided if people had slowed down. They said it was no coincidence that most of the accidents had occurred on major roads with higher speed limits.

Once the ice had melted, motorists were faced with different problems as torrential rain in many parts of the county led to flooding.

The rain caused a mudslide near the Inniscarra Bar shortly before lunchtime.

It also brought a tree down and gardaí were forced to close the road between Canon’s Cross and the bar for several hours as council employees worked to clear it up.

Flooding made the road near The Viaduct in Bishopstown barely passable and there was a similar scene near the Fox & Hounds bar at Banduff.

Met Éireann is forecasting that the cold spell will remain in Cork over the weekend and it will be accompanied by blustery showers, heavy at times.

In Kerry, lightning resulted in cuts to electricity and telephone services in parts of the county.

However, services were reported to be restored to practically all areas by late afternoon.

Heavy rainfall also caused some surface flooding on roads, but main roads were passable throughout the county.

Kerry escaped the worst of the snowy and frosty conditions that made roads treacherous in other parts of the country.

There was a light covering of snow in some parts of the Kerry yesterday morning, but it soon melted and traffic was moving normally.

Up to 150 ESB customers were left without power in the Moyderwell, Clash and Ballyard areas of Tralee.

Phone services to the Kerry County Council headquarters at Rathass, Tralee, were also affected and callers were asked by council staff to be patient when ringing for services, including motor taxation.

There were delays and a council spokesman said it was taking longer than usual to deal with calls.

A number of accidents on the Limerick-Ennis dual carriageway caused long tail backs.

Two people were admitted to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital with injuries following road traffic accidents in Adare and Castletroy.

Limerick gardaí reported a number of minor accidents, with cars skidding off roads and into ditches.

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