Donegal salt supplies dangerously low

The Council's salt levels are 'terrifyingly low' meaning Inishowen's ice-ridden roads will be forced to close leaving residents housebound and spelling out disaster for the peninsula, the Journal can reveal.

As six Donegal County Council gritter lorries went off the road in Donegal over the past few days Donegal North East TD, Joe McHugh and Inishowen councillor and chairman of the roads and transport strategic policy committee, Padraig MacLochlainn have both warned they're seriously concerned about the wellbeing of Inishowen residents who will be left in limbo because of the lack of Donegal County Council salt supplies to grit our roads.

Cllr MacLochlainn said the council are being forced to use what little salt they have sparingly because they're running out.

He said this means they simply aren't able to salt footpaths because there isn't enough for the roads as it is.

Cllr MacLochlainn said he didn't blame the council, but central government who he said has cut corners with both staff and funding.

He said: "What's happening is we really don't have the salt supplies that we need for Donegal.

"We just don't have the salt we require to deliver the normal service. We are in the scenario where we won't be able to keep all roads open they will have to be priorities made."

Calling council workers 'heroic' he said they were going out in 'really tough conditions' to grit as many roads as possible. He also praised community members, particularly farmers, who were taking it upon themselves to grit footpaths and some rural roads.

Deputy McHugh said the problem spells 'disaster' for Inishowen which is not serviced by national primary routes. He said: "It is unbelievable that there was insufficient preparation for the inevitable annual freeze that is now upon us.

"The country came to a standstill because of similar weather in December 2008 and again last winter. The ordinary man who has lived in this area all his life has been predicting four to five harsh winters. Why do those in so-called important jobs not listen to the people?

"I have asked the Minister for Transport to declare the quantities of salt for usage on icy roads that were recorded in the State before 22nd November, and I have sought similar information for 28th November and 6th December. A failure to prepare is a preparation for failure."

Cllr MacLochlainn urged members of the public to not feel anger towards the council's roads team, who he said were working under extremely difficult circumstances.