8 December 2015
By Elaine Murphy
A meeting of the National Coordination Group to discuss the on-going severe weather was convened in the (NECC) National Emergency Coordination Centre yesterday (7th December 2015) to review the response to date, to assess the impact of the storms on infrastructure and communities and to ensure that the response of relevant local authorities, Government Departments and Agencies continues to be coordinated.
The response to all emergencies is appropriately locally-led in the first instance (by relevant local authorities in the case of severe weather). The Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government monitors the situation and determines if a Severe Weather National Co-ordination Group should be convened if certain trigger conditions are arrived at or where the local response is overwhelmed and central assistance might be required.
The Storm Desmond severe weather warning issued by Met Eireann was monitored by the Department as Lead Government Department for severe weather emergencies and contact was maintained with Met Eireann, the local authorities and the transport and energy sectors. The agencies in the front-line reported on their responses to the storms at the meeting.
As the response phase ends, the relevant local authorities will commence their clean-ups and in some counties prepare for further possible flooding events particularly in some areas of the Shannon catchment area.
Advice from the group is that weather should be more settled in the days ahead but that more rainfall can be expected. Swollen rivers and sodden land, particularly in the Shannon catchment area should be expected, and the public is advised to avoid walking along riverbanks and seafronts if at all possible until it is safe to do so. The levels in the rivers in the Galway/Clare catchment, the Moy, the Suck will abate in the next day or so.
People are advised to follow local flood warnings issued through local authorities for more detailed information.
The group noted the responses of emergency services, local authority workers, state agencies, businesses and the public for their hard work and patience during the recent event. The NCG will meet again tomorrow to review matters and Local Authorities will continue to monitor river levels in the areas impacted.
The Chairman also requested that the public would continue to heed the safety warnings of the authorities.