KILDARE OPINION: There will no critical post-mortems at the end of the weather crisis

Paul O'Meara gives his views

Paul O'Meara


Paul O'Meara


KILDARE OPINION: There will no critical post-mortems at the end of the weather crisis

Snow ploughs in action during Storm Emma

It’s all gone now, save for scattered mounds of the stuff; much of charcoal grey from the road surfaces.

These mounds and the light carpetings on untouched fields offering stiff but futile resistance to the thaw.

Even the dogs had enough of the snow long before it was safe for the rest of us to venture out.

Northern areas of County Kildare were the hardest hit around these parts when the snow began to fall.

As has been reported the weather conditions conspired to deposit over 17 inches of snow on the Naas area. For many, if it never comes again it will be too soon.

It was a dramatic event and one which could have led to loss of life.

That this didn’t happen is down to the common sense of most folk and the efforts of various agencies, groups and individuals to restore the community to normality as quickly as possible.

And so, to date at least, there has been no hue and cry from the public and the politicians about how it could have been done better.

Wehaveresisted the urge to criticise we accept that those charged with dealing with this did their very best.

Sure, the media sought out a few visitors who happened to be here at the time and who come from places where large scale snowfall is nothing unusual.

And come offered the view that other countries don’t grind to a halt in similar circumstances.

That we paid any heed to these owes more to our collective inferior complex than it does to a willingness to make a rational contribution.

Kildare County Council, which effectively coordinated the response to the weather crisis, would have been better positioned to deal with it if it had a squadron of snow ploughs and massive army trucks with wheels the size of a small apartment.

But the case for buying these machines for ones is a decade or two decades event wouldn’t be justified.

So KCC relied on the personnel and equipment it could immediately lay its hands on as well as contractors.

Only at the height of the crisis was there no activity. For the rest KCC worked to manage and ease the huge level of inconvenience.

The silence in the aftermath is, in a way, an expression of gratitude or at least relief, towards KCC. There were others too, like the volunteers who helped out.

Some people with access to the right kind of plant helped out for free; others made a little hay while the going was good, so to speak.

SEE ALSO: Kildare's Storm Emma cleanup costs estimated at €1 million

At least one was offering to clear Naas estates for €150 a time, and most were glad to pay — residents in one estate in Naas sought the services of a snow plough or a front loader at the very least via a message posted on social media .

The closest we’ve come to criticism of anything that might have contributed to the problems emerged at a KCC meting last week when councillors called for speed limited to be reduced to 40 kph or halved when red weather alerts are issued.

It’s hard to see how any new speed limits could’ve been enforced at the height of the crisis. Moreover the gardai would have better things to be doing ,like assisting the community, at times like this.

KCC doesn’t expect to be thanked for how it worked during the Big Snow of 2018.

They know that that’s what they are paid to do; to manage difficult situations on the back of plans which are prepared in advance.

And they did it very well.