The water situation as reported this morning was production at 552.1Mld and demand at 550.7Mld i.e. a net gain of 1.4Mld. Through redirection etc we now have 678Mld storage in Stillorgan. We will have pressure reductions and some cut offs tonight from 7pm to 7am.
There will be no cut-offs from the 23rd to 28th December inclusive. We will review the position again on the 29th December.
Michael Phillips and I attended another meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordinating Committee this morning. Met Eireann advised that in one location in Cavan day time temperatures were at -9 yesterday and went down to -16 last night. In the Dublin area there was very heavy snow all day yesterday and into the evening.
There were major problems on some of the M50 Interchanges with trucks having difficulty getting through and some of these caused major problems for the commuter traffic exiting the city. We have discussed these problems with the Department of Transport and the NRA this morning (as they are responsible for the concessionaires who maintain and grit the M50 and Interchanges) and revised arrangements are being put in place.
For your information Met Eireann advised in relation to Dublin Airport that as the Dublin area appears to be escaping major problems today and tomorrow things look more positive on that front. They feel we will have mainly dry sunny days staying very cold. It will be cold until St Stephens Day with the real thaw not until early next week.
Such was the depth of snow yesterday that we are deploying snow ploughs on the Chapelizod By Pass and other dual carriageways within the city. This is the first time we have had to do this in 30 years, but it is necessary in order to ensure salt spreading is effective.
The NRA continues to manage overall salt supplies. A delivery of salt got into Dublin Port last night and was unloaded for distribution to critically affected areas including Dublin. There will be further loading operations in Dublin Port early in the morning with more salt coming in. Salt will also arrive in Cork tomorrow for unloading. On the 23rd there will be 2,000 tonnes coming into Belfast. Therefore the situation on salt is greatly improved. We are continuing to spread salt in the city as per the map on the website but we were able to increase the amount spread to 215 tonnes last night.
Footpaths are again an issue in the city and we had our men out from 6.30am yesterday morning but it was a very difficult exercise given the continuous nature of the snowfall. They were out again this morning at 6.30am. We have mobilised 3 specially adapted forklifts and up to 10 mini diggers to help with clearing the paths. They are concentrating on areas of heavy footfall including access to rail stations, fire stations and hospitals. We have asked all Government Departments and the OPW to assist with clearing the paths around their buildings and this is happening at a number of locations in the city.
I have been asked about Army assistance on footpaths. Their personnel in the region are deployed primarily on providing assistance to the HSE in getting critical staff and patients to their facilities. However, given the exceptional circumstances over the past two days, I have asked for their assistance in helping with critical locations. I am advised now that they have deployed 25 personnel to help at Heuston Station.
Alan Breen, Press Officer on behalf of