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:
- While most schools will reopen today, some in the worst-hit zones may remain closed, with decisions made at local level.
- More than 10,000 people were still without water last night, with restrictions in place for 66,000 homes and potential restrictions for Dublin.
- At least 6,000 people were yesterday without electricity in Wexford, with snow drifts hampering repair work.
- Iarnród Éireann, Dublin Bus, and the Luas all intend to return to normal today, although passengers are asked to check websites for updates.
- Hospitals will again postpone non-urgent surgeries
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.”