Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Freezing thoughts warming me up for the wrong reasons

December 21st, 2010 · No Comments · Irish Politics

Before I start

I know that other countries are not coping with the weather very well either.

And I know this is an ‘unique weather event.’

However from being stuck at home for most of this month so far due to the risk of injury and lack of mobility I have been able to listen to a lot of media and watch the Government Emergency preparedness briefings where spokepersons go through the motions and don’t get much questioning at all.

Sean O’Neill from the National Roads Authority has been most spectacular in his spinability and the way he has ducked and dived and indeed had no questions  lobbed at him.  In Sneachta1 it was clear that the NRA was in charge of ordering the salt and ordering how it should be used.  It’s the same in Sneachta2 but he is now saying that local authorities could also do their own thing. Over the border there is a salt mine and local government who ‘seem’ to do their job well – well better than us and better funded (although not for much longer). On the salt mine Sean O’Neill says they don’t order from there and can’t go get any now as it’s all promised to others and told listeners on the Last Word last night that ‘we’ don’t understand international salt ordering politics. We’re waiting on deliveries from Egypt and other places.

The lack of funding available to local authorities to get any money of their own to buy salt to do local roads and paths is really scandalous.  And there will be no money for any emergency in Dublin next year according to the City Manager and Dublin is one of the ‘richer’ counties in terms of rates.

Outside of Dublin there are thousands of people who have not been out of their houses for weeks and have had little let up at all between the two cold periods. Our lack of an effective social services sector and the way that responsiblity is given to the non profit and volunteer sector means that people living in different areas are receiving very diverse types of support.

We don’t see ministers out shovelling snow or managing the emergency and there are advertisements in papers telling those that notice that they can clear their driveways without fear of being sued.  However as we are a country with no leadership we have no leader that can stand up and call on people to clear the paths or face questioning about why we can’t cope or why the roads are not prepared.

The Interagency Emergency committee tells people to take public transport however getting to the bus or from the bus or train was near impossible as the paths were not treated for days as the car/truck was far more important.

Last night South County Dublin came to a standstill as roads were not treated and the local authorities even if they had the salt do not have enough ploughs to treat them.

We have spent millions and millions building roads under the Celtic Tiger which the NRA are very precious about.  Very little on public transport or pathways.  Loads on bikes and cycle paths too.

This is what happens when a country spends money on roads but not enough on how to keep them open – last night in Dublin.

Meanwhile Junior Minister Mary White is sleeping rough in Carlow tonight to ‘raise awareness’.  This will do little to help the two homeless people who died in Dublin over the weekend.  It won’t count the rough sleepers in Dublin who now have to be counted by volunteers.  It won’t provide more social housing or it won’t replace the social housing to be sold off by her government as announced in the budget earlier this month. It won’t finish the ghost estates and apartment blocks transferred to NAMA.   Does the Minister not think after the third significant cold spell in one year that people are not aware of homelessness already?

If she did it and told nobody about it till afterwards then I might respect her decision a little bit.  If I heard something about housing as a human rights issue.   There are a whole lot of if’s but there’s been a press release and a decision somewhere that this was a good idea.


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