THERE are better ways of communicating during severe weather events, according to the Sinn Féin Cllr Paul Hayes.
Cllr Hayes claimed Cork County Council could improve its system of communication by piggy-backing on popular social media sites, including The Southern Star’s popular website and Facebook page.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the Western Committee of Cork County Council, Cllr Hayes said he and other councillors were inundated with calls, texts and social media messages reporting icy roads, with many people expressing their dissatisfaction with a perceived lack of road gritting by the Council.
Although some information was available on the Council website, the councillor said: ‘There was still some confusion about which roads were and were not gritted.’
Using social media, he said he explained the priority routes around West Cork that the Council was obliged to grit every evening, as well as the other roads that local area engineers had directed their staff to salt.
‘Despite the fact that many of our roads were gritted to prevent the formation of ice, it rhad ained overnight and this reduced its impact, causing the rain-soaked roads to refreeze.’
When motorists got into their cars the next morning, Cllr Hayes said: ‘It appeared to them as if the Council had not gritted their road when, in fact, they had worked through the night in an attempt to make the roads passable.’
The Sinn Féin councillor paid tribute to the Council’s outdoor staff, saying: ‘They have been working very hard since the weather took a turn for the worse at the beginning of December.’
He also pointed out that since the recruitment embargo was introduced, there are ‘over 400 less Council workers available to react to severe weather episodes than there were in 2008.
‘In light of recent flooding, icy road conditions, and the severe damage done to roads across West Cork,’ he said, ‘the current, or incoming Government, should reverse this policy and allow front line staff to be employed once again.’