LATEST: Defence Forces on standby for emergencies during Kildare blizzard shutdown

Worst of weather expected to hit around 4pm

Leinster Leader reporter

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LATEST: Defence Forces on standby for emergencies during Kildare blizzard shutdown

Snow in Naas

The Defence Forces, many of whom are based in the Curragh, have deployed 250 Army personnel and 85 vehicles in a range of tasks to support the local authorities in the past 36 hours with 130 personnel deployed today alone.

There are also an additional 250 Defence Forces personnel in support of deployed personnel working in barracks around the country today.

There were currently close to 100 Defence Forces personnel and 30 vehicles deployed in Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, Meath, Cork, Kerry, Kildare, Dublin and Donegal earlier today.

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The majority of taskings are in support of the HSE ensuring that key staff can get to hospitals and nursing homes.

“We have been assisting palliative care nurses reaching their patients in the community as well as transporting the likes of dialysis patients to essential treatments and important drugs to Crumlin Children’s Hospital,” said a spokesperson.

“Defence Forces personnel are also deployed in support to An Garda Siochana for mobility operations, supporting local county councils to assist in clearing key transport hubs and providing meals and wheel services in the community. We are currently transporting 40 stranded passengers from Cork Airport to hotels in the area.”

From 4pm today the Defence Forces will cease conducting non-essential operations such as clearing snow and ice.

Personnel will be available for “in Extremis” situations of life and death after 4pm today.

“We will be asking the regional emergency coordination mangers of the HSE, and others, to prioritise those tasks. Defence Forces personnel remain on stand by around the country and are liaising with their local authorities regarding requests for support that may be required throughout the day,” they said.

Staff Officers from Defence Forces Operations Branch are attending all National Emergency Coordination Group meetings, where they advise on Defence Forces capabilities and resources.