Rural roads in West Limerick 'impassable' as snow continues to fall

Maria Flannery & Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Maria Flannery & Norma Prendiville

Email:

maria.flannery@limerickleader.ie

A deserted Abbeyfeale this Friday morning after Storm Emma

A deserted Abbeyfeale this Friday morning after Storm Emma

THE RURAL roads of West Limerick are “impassable”, with drifts forming of up to seven inches forming in some parts.

And as the snow continues to cascade from the sky, council crews are hard at work ploughing the main arteries of the region.

There have been no major incidents in West Limerick, according to Newcastle West gardai, who have been working this morning to bring doctors and other essential staff to their places of work.

“The snow ploughs are working away here in Newcastle West, and I’d say the main roads will be fully open in another hour or two,” said a garda spokesperson.

The worry, then, is “if it freezes down on top of the snow”. Local gardai are advising people to stay at home until at least lunchtime.

“There is no traffic moving, there are a few kids out throwing snowballs. There have been no incidents so far, thank God. We have a 4x4 vehicle and we’ve been driving around a few doctors up to the hospital. But people shouldn’t attempt to drive now until conditions improve on the roads,” said the garda spokesperson.

Few vehicles are venturing out, even on the main N21 which gardai said was “passable with caution”.

Clearing also has begun on the Newcastle West to Kilmallock road, on the Dromcollogher road and on the Newcastle West to Ardagh road.

Few people were out in Newcastle West town, mostly people enjoying the snow. At least one convenience store, O’Connors in Churchtown opened.

But it was complete lock-down in Abbeyfeale, according to residents there and there was little or no traffic on the through road to Kerry.

The uphill areas of West Limerick are completely snowed-in. Up to six inches of snow is reported in Athea, where one local shop, Brouders, opened but no bread was for sale.  

Snow is also deep in Broadford and Ashford.

The Ashford road was gritted last night, one resident reported but it is now inches deep in snow. All is quiet there.

Broadford also is quiet under its six inches of snow  but  Moloneys shop opened as usual. Conditions in Tournafulla are tough, according to one resident, and ordinary cars would not get through the snow.  The snow is up to one foot deep in places, another resident reported.

Abbeyfeale-based Cllr Liam Galvin said that the N21 is “just about passable” in his neck of the woods.

“I had to get out to the farm this morning, so I got a drive from a friendly neighbour in a 4x4, but you wouldn’t drive a car on the country roads today, not at all. The byroads are impassable, and it’s snowing away heavily. There’s up to six inches of snow on the roads out here,” he said.

“But we are doing fine, I am going around to a few neighbours to see how they are. I walked a bit of the way this morning and there are very few cars on the road. The country roads are totally impassable now, you won’t travel the country roads.”

Cllr Galvin added that people should look out for their neighbours, and mentioned that some local people who have been recently bereaved will find it difficult to make funeral arrangements.

“Every family has their own worries. There were a couple of deaths in the locality yesterday and the day before yesterday, and you’d be worried about those families. The council has been very obliging in trying to keep the roads clear in those areas, but it is a problem,” he said.

Although treacherous road conditions are the main concern, some homes have also been left without power in West Limerick.

Around 75 homes are without power outside Askeaton due to a fault at Kyletaun.

The fault occurred shortly before 11am this morning, and ESB workers estimate that it will be repaired before 3pm this afternoon.

UPDATE: Snow is continuing to fall in West Limerick this Friday lunchtime.

Since the heavy overnight snow showers which blanketed the area, snow has been falling constantly since early light adding to deepening drifts and making the outlook for a quick return to normality less likely.