Calls to take it n-ice and freeze-y

AS the big freeze took hold again overnight, road conditions remained dangerous with the lack of gritting on minor roads an ongoing problem.

There was a slight thaw yesterday morning but fresh snowfall and below-zero temperatures made driving difficult this morning.

Across the country, many rural schools remained closed for a second day yesterday because of the hazardous road situation, although most in the cities and larger towns were able to open.

However, principals are continuing to monitor the weather and are updating parents through local radio stations and by text message.

According to gardaí, there were long traffic delays in Dublin last night because of the subzero temperatures and not all Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus services were operating last night.

While there was heavy snowfall for up to an hour in Cork city yesterday morning, the city has been spared the extremes that have hit the Midlands, the West and the East in particular.

Meanwhile, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has said the refusal of some local authorities around the country to supply grit to farmers doesn’t make sense.

Farmers in West Cork and elsewhere in the country have offered to help clear the minor roads using their own machinery if they are given grit supplies. However, the local authorities won’t agree with this ad-hoc system.

IFA president John Bryan said “dairy farmers have tanks full of milk, feed needs to be delivered and neighbours want to get out and about”.

ICTU is calling on employers to show common sense and keep an eye on the weather and take care that workers don’t get trapped at work and put at risk as the weather conditions deteriorate during the week.

“From a health and safety point of view, employers should allow staff, who are able to do so, to work from home rather than struggle into work in the bad weather,” said ICTU’s Esther Lynch.

Road conditions improved throughout Co Kerry, yesterday, and all national primary, secondary and regional routes had been gritted in the county by late afternoon. Traffic was moving on most roads, but the Conor Pass, in the Dingle Peninsula, remained closed. In north Kerry, the Abbeydorney to Ballyduff road was dangerous in places and extreme care was being advised. Gardaí also urged drivers to proceed with caution, especially on minor roads with patches of frozen snow. Kerry County Council has deposited heaps of grit at specified areas around the county for use by local communities.

Waterford City Council said that bin collections will not take place until the ice has melted, with all rubbish to be taken next week while Wexford County Council said all refuse collections have been cancelled so far this week and will resume when the weather improves.

Main routes across the South East were gritted by local authorities but councils stressed that they were unable to treat roads within housing estates or minor routes.

Priority areas being treated on a constant basis include the N25 between Waterford and Youghal and the N72 from Dungarvan to Lismore and Tallow.

Many councils put interactive maps on their websites, showing the roads which are being gritted.

Carlow County Council warned regional roads had “deteriorated” on Monday night and early yesterday morning.

The severe weather conditions continued to affect broadband and telephone customers across the country, particularly along the East Coast.

The worst impacted areas yesterday were Wicklow, Wexford, Carlow, Dublin City and County Dublin.

Yesterday afternoon, Eircom’s fault count stood at 4,600, with approximately 1,000 faults in the greater Dublin area.

Crews cleared over 1,200 faults yesterday despite being hindered by poor road conditions.

As the cold weather continues, Met Éireann is warning that further snow falls are expected as temperatures fall today and Thursday.

How to steer clear of trouble

DECIDE how important your journey is and cancel it if possible.

Keep your mobile phone charged with an in-car charger.

Dress for the weather in case you have to get out.

Bring your satellite navigation system with you so you can give the precise location should your vehicle break down.

Know if your car is driven through the front wheels, rear wheels or is a four-wheel drive and also know its breaking system.

Reduce speed early — decelerate, then break smoothly and gently.

Steer into a turn smoothly and be aware that some minor sliding may occur as the car wants to keep going straight. Expect a delayed response on the steering.

Should the car slide as it is being steered to the left, the rear will slide to the right, wanting to go straight in effect.

The driver should then steer smoothly to the right, easing off the throttle and always being ready for a secondary skid as the car comes back into line.

- This advice has been supplied by the Institute of Advanced Motorists of Ireland

Picture: St Aloysius retired nuns Mary Brosnan, Rathmore, and Sheila O’Sullivan, Kenmare, braving the cold weather in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

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