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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 17 July, 2018
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'Weather knows no borders': Sinn Féin senator calls for all-Ireland weather alerts during emergencies

Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said that when weather alerts are reported, they should be done so on an all-Ireland basis.

Two people on a makeshift snowboard are towed behind a jeep on the R413 road through the Curragh in County Kildare during Storm Emma earlier this year.
Two people on a makeshift snowboard are towed behind a jeep on the R413 road through the Curragh in County Kildare during Storm Emma earlier this year.

SINN FÉIN senator has called for Met Éireann and RTÉ to display the weather and alerts for entirety of the island of Ireland, instead of the just the Republic during emergencies.

Speaking after raising the issue in the Seanad, Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said that when weather alerts are reported, they should be done so on an all-Ireland basis.

“It is a cause of great frustration when the north-east of Ireland is amputated from maps that are supposed to be about alerting people to adverse or emergency weather situations,” he said.

“This same frustration also applies the other way too, when weather agencies in the north ignore or leave out the rest of Ireland.

Weather knows no borders; neither should strategies that are meant to be about communicating the very real dangers of emergency weather situations.

Ó Donnghaile raised the issue in the Seanad with junior minister Damien English on Thursday.

English said that the government tried to “do that when we can while respecting all the different jurisdictions, who is in control in different areas and so on”.

In relation to emergencies, English said that responses were locally led in the first instance.

He said that a range of arrangements were in place between local authorities a relevant on both sides of the in order to “cover the response to major emergencies that may occur in Border areas”.

“As the Senator said, the line on the map is not recognised by weather events,” the minister said.

He laid out how various emergency services have agreements to communicate with and assist where necessary their counterparts on the other side of the border.

English also talked about the convening of the national emergency coordination group (NECG) during weather emergencies (as was the case recently during Storm Emma).

“The NECG coordinates the response measures in place and deals with emerging issues,” he said.

The NECG will arrange for relevant Departments and agencies to liaise with their equivalents in Northern Ireland as required.

Ó Donnghaile welcomed the minister’s response, but requested that “bodies like RTÉ and Met Éireann are instructed to adequately reflect the information which… is there and easily obtainable, and to let the general public see that it when they turn on their TVs or open the apps on their phones”.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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