Farmers and machinery operators were out in force to help out across Kildare

Storm Emma

Niamh O'Donoghue


Niamh O'Donoghue


Farmers and machinery operators were out in force to help out across Kildare

Farmer Alan Byrne helps bring this orphaned calf to safety during Storm Emma

Tractors, JCBs, front loaders and machinery of every kind have been out on the roads as farmers came to the rescue of many locals stranded throughout the county over the past week due to Storm Emma.

Although some people expressed frustration at the slow pace of clearing rural roads, the farmers got out to assist as many as they could, said Rathangan farmer Alan Byrne.

“I’ve been out up to eleven and twelve o’clock most nights. It’s been unreal,” he said.

Speaking to the Leader yesterday, Alan told how he ferried a local greyhound owner, who keeps his dogs in Cappinairgid, down to feed his animals every day, brought supplies and fuel to householders who couldn’t get to the town and gave anyone lifts who needed them.

Road clearing was another major job, in which the farmers assisted the council.

He pointed out numerous farmers had joined forces to help keep Rathangan open, which was cut off by snow drifts in the aftermath of Storm Emma.

He said Gary Pearson, Padraig and Joe Houlihan, Pat Behan, and Bernard Flanagan were also flat out clearing as many snowdrifts as they could.

“John Donohoe practically kept the town open. He has a tractor with a snow plough and he was up and down the town twice a day.”

Vicky and Glen Burrell, Sammy Houlihan and Kevin Behan were also active on the Kildare road with many other local farmers working on their own areas.

The snow drift on the Newbridge Road (via the Curragh) was particularly difficult to remove as was the Lullymore one.

During all the chaos, the farmers had to look after their own animals and ensure they were safe and fed. Alan explained how one little calf was orphaned after his mother rejected him.

"He had to be bottle fed. The animals were affected by the weather and they were unsettled," he said.

Alan is hoping another cow, who calves soon, will adopt him as her own.

Alan has another little passenger to ferry to safety and warmth