Dublin needs a Czar for natural emergencies and catastrophies.

Glasnevin Avenue in the Snow

Glasnevin Avenue in the Snow

The response to the recent freeze was discussed at Dublin City Council Meeting on January 11th under “Lord Mayor’s Business”. The inadequacies obvious to citizens were laid out in frank terms. The effect of 3 ins of
snow on roads, subjected to prolonged subzero temperatures, was simply to bring traffic to a snarled halt. Buses were refusing to go up hills such as Parnell Square. Apparently Dublin Bus was afraid of buses being stranded with their drivers in some outlying areas.

This was the longest cold spell since 1963. City Manager, John Tierney told councillors that more than 3 years of usual salt usage was spread on roads over the past month.

Bill Tormey brought the following points to the meeting:

  1. Fual Allowance for the elderly should be augmented this winter to relieve poverty.
  2. School Yards must be awarded priority. They should be salted to allow schools to open by reducing the danger of injury to children and the litigation and insurance risks attached to untreated surfaces. I acknowledged that there is the issue of private property but that is surmountable. Ignoring the key role of schools in the economy is irresponsible when due to closure, a parent may be unable to work. Some pupils rely on schools for breakfast.
  3. Dublin bus should not have removed all buses from the city in the late afternoon following a 3 cm fall of snow leaving city workers, students and shoppers stranded in the city centre. Many had to walk home in freezing cold weather. This is not good enough from a bus monopoly.
  4. Some council tenants had no water for up to one week and needed the delivery of water especially tanks in blocks in the south inner city.
  5. A Czar for NATURAL EMERGENCIES should be appointed to deal with weather emergencies such as snowfalls and floods in the city. It should also be a function to coordinate responses to acts of war such as bombings, terrorism or major physical catastrophies.