Tributes were paid to Tipperary’s local authority services at October’s Cashel Tipperary Municipal District Meeting as they battled to maintain vital services during some of the roughest weather the county has faced in living memory.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Michael Fitzgerald said it was a “difficult and stressful” week for fire and emergency services, Tipperary County Council Roads Section, and the many public and private bodies which co-ordinated to tackle Storms Ophelia and Brian.
“It’s important that we pay tribute to all the people who contributed to such a successful outcome,” said Cllr Fitzgerald.
Council and Engineering staff gave regular briefings and worked tirelessly to ensure the public were updated, and Cllr Fitzgerald singled out Met Éireann who took the brave decision to issue a nationwide alert.
Gardaí, the Defence Forces, Fire and Emergency Services, the ESB, and Eir, all played a role. While the loss of three people, including one man from Co. Tipperary, was a “black mark” but the “response was first class.”
Cllr Roger Kennedy commended the Council outdoor staff. There were 103 road closures in the County, and by early Tuesday, after Storm Ophelia, most had re-opened, including the Golden to Cashel road where there were fallen wires.
Cllr Kennedy criticised the “foolhardy people” who went out and ignored warnings in the Storms, putting their own lives, and the lives of others, in danger.
Cllr Martin Browne also condemned the “pure stupidity” of those who had “very short memories”, citing the Irish Coast Guard 116 crash in March this year when four people lost their lives during a rescue mission off the coast of Co. Mayo.
Cllr Mary Hanna Hourigan said some people are still without internet or phones, but this was a small detail “compared to the three lives” lost.
Cllr Tom Wood said the Storms brought home the suffering of those in other countries prone to extreme weather, and “these events will be more frequent due to climate change.” The sad thing is that the people who didn’t heed warnings, “will come out again” for the next storm.
The Council was able to issue messages and updates on social media, “every five or 10 minutes” and it was great to see such technology being utilised fully, added Cllr Wood.
Cllr Roger Kennedy said he heard that Ireland was on the front page news in faraway Galapagos Islands, and commended the media for “getting out the message quickly and clearly”.