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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Widow of man killed in Storm Ophelia wants official 'stay at home' guidelines in status red alerts

Fintan Goss (33) died when he was returning from work during Storm Ophelia.

Fintan Goss
Fintan Goss
Image: Facebook/Bonner's Bar Thomas Doherty

THE WIDOW OF the man who died while driving home from work during Storm Ophelia has called for guidelines to be implemented so that only emergency vehicles can travel on roads during status red weather warnings.

Pamela Goss has written to the Oireachtas members for Louth, where the couple lived, asking for guidelines to be put in place so that workers know to “stay at home” during red alerts.

Her husband Fintan Goss (33) was the third person to lose their life during Storm Ophelia on 16 October. He passed away while driving to his home, which was a short distance from work in Ravensdale, near Dundalk.

Pamela Goss told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that her husband had not received a message from work telling him not to come in the evening before the storm hit, so he headed in that morning.

She told O’Rourke that she was watching the live RTÉ broadcast throughout the morning and she was “really on edge” and had texted her husband to leave work. He died on his way home.

“There should be a set of guidelines to be implemented automatically if there’s a red warning status across the country, private, public sectors, and only have the roads open for the paramedics and the fire services,” Goss said.

Goss said while there was clear instruction for public sector workers in relation to working during the storm, that was not the case for those in the private sector.

At the end of the day, it’s life and death. There are jobs that are crucial like the paramedics and fire [services] that, ironically, we needed that day. Other industries aren’t life and death.

“I’m just frustrated at the minute that something like that can happen in Ireland in this day and age.”

Government response

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy responded to Goss’ comments and said that during the status red warning the government tried “to communicate to private businesses what exactly we think would happen”.

“There is a mechanism in place when you have a red alert for a storm warning that cascades, whereby if a country is going to have a status red for a storm, you close the public transport and thereby you close the schools and there’s a knock on effect onto other public bodies,” Murphy said.

He said that the same thing doesn’t happen in the private sector and that they don’t instruct all businesses to close, instead, they issue advice.

We were clear on that day to stay in doors. We put it up to companies to decide what they thought was best for their employees based on what public transport would be available and how exactly their place of work operated.

“My heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of each of the three individuals who did die on that day,” Murphy said.

A government report will be released in December on what “worked and what hadn’t worked” during Storm Ophelia, according to Murphy.

Read: Ireland has only recovered by 41% from the recession

More: ‘I think I’m doing a good job’: Halligan says he isn’t resigning after North Korea and interview controversies

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