80 kilometers an hour won’t be seen for a while on this stretch of road straddling Dublin and Wicklow. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Anthony Neeson
The big clear-up has begun in parts of Ireland following the heavy snowfall that saw many communities left isolated and cut-off, particularly in rural parts of Leinster.
Numerous schools have been closed since Thursday, March 1 while some homes may not have water supply for several weeks after pipes burst in the big freeze that followed Storm Emma, or “the beast from the east” as the weather event was widely dubbed.
From Wednesday of last week many parts of the country were already under several inches of snow, but with heavy winds roads were soon impassible due to snow drifts.
With a cold spell coming in from the east following the main storm, this combined with further snow showers, the thaw has only started.
By Monday morning, counties Wicklow, Wexford and Kildare were still in the middle of the big freeze.
Farmers have been assisting the local authorities in clearing rural roads while motorists are being urged to exercise caution as small local roads have only one lane open.
The army are also clearing footpaths. There have been incidents where cattle sheds have collapsed due to the volume of heavy snow on the roofs.
In Wexford Town, 15,000 customers are still without water. In some parts of the country people are being used to conserve water to allow water levels to increase.
Meanwhile, eight men are due to appear in court in connection with an incident after a Lidl store was rammed by a JCB and looted during the snow. Videos of the incident were posted on social media.
Gardaí found it difficult to get to the scene because of impassable roads.
A Garda spokesperson said: “We are aware of incidents in the Tallaght Garda district. There have been a number of arrests. We would ask anyone with any information to contact Tallaght Garda Station.
Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe said: “While the vast majority of people in Tallaght are worried about weather conditions, getting to work, supporting their neighbors and helping the elderly, criminal elements have brought shame by looting and destroying local businesses.
“The last few days have been full of positive stories of people pulling together but the criminality witnessed tonight in Tallaght is generating huge anger and frustration.”
Tallaght Councilor Brendan Ferron said: “The village is completely snowed in so I’m sure it was an absolute nightmare for the Guards to get up there and deal with this situation.”
Meanwhile, there is little prospect of springtime relief in the next few days with freezing conditions at night and more snow in parts.