Monday, January 11, 2010

Lord Mayor, Cllr Emer Costello to Prioritise Debate on Council’s Response to January Freezing Weather at City Council Meeting, Monday 11 January

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Emer Costello has requested the City Manager to draw up a comprehensive report on the City Council’s response to the freezing weather crisis in preparation for the City Council meeting on Monday 11 January. The Lord Mayor has announced she has prioritised the matter for debate under Lord Mayor’s Business at the Council meeting.
Speaking in advance of the City Council meeting on Monday evening the Lord Mayor stated that
“We have had an unprecedented period of winter weather, consisting snow and ice, indeed arctic conditions in the Capital City and throughout the country. There has been public frustration and confusion at the lack of Government co-ordination to the crisis. It is important too that we have an honest and full evaluation of the City Council’s performance during this period. Everything should be on the table: co-ordination at national and local level, the extent road gritting, the availability or non-availability of rock salt and gritting materials, communications both on an inter-agency basis and the public information systems which were in place, the deployment of staff, the provision of services to the public during the crisis and most importantly the impact of the cuts in our budget on our response to the crisis. We need to learn the lessons of this crisis and we need to ensure that we have systems in place to deal with any such event in the future.”
The Lord Mayor added that “we also have to appreciate what was achieved by our staff on ever-dwindling resources. I would like to thank the City Council staff who worked tirelessly to provide essential services. Seven teams of road-gritters worked throughout the City day and night to try to keep our streets clear. Other staff were redeployed to clear pavements with high pedestrian usage. Dublin City Council staff ensured that the pavements at senior citizen complexes were kept clear. While clearly there were many areas that were not reached or covered by these teams, the work of the Council staff is to be commended.
“I appreciated that following my representations to the Manager, shower facilities in the City Council inner city swimming pools at Sean McDermott Street and Markievicz Pool were made available to people who had no water and washing facilities.”
The Lord Mayor also paid tribute to members of the public for the remarkable civic and community spirit which has been so much in evidence throughout the City. Many residents and businesses rowed in with clearing the pavements outside their homes and premises. Hospital staff worked extra hours and those who lived outside the capital arranged to stay in Dublin with relatives or friends so that they could continue to provide their services. People made special efforts to donate blood and replete the dwindling supplies. Neighbours looked in on neighbours to ensure that those who were not as mobile were still had sufficient provisions to keep them over the cold spell.”
The Lord Mayor concluded that “ while there has been something of a thaw in recent days, the freezing conditions are not yet over. At least another week’s bad weather is predicted. We must continue to make every effort to maintain a high level of response to ensure the safety of our citizens. And it is important to have a full debate on the issues encountered so to ensure that the learning outcomes are taken on board and acted on for the future. “
Cllr Emer Costello, Lord Mayor of Dublin,
Tel: 086 3831805

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