Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on OPW & Flood Relief Eugene Murphy says the Government needs to prioritise public safety and ensure that measures are taken to ensure that local authorities and State bodies are prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Ophelia.
Deputy Murphy commented, “There is a real possibility that Hurricane Ophelia could be the strongest storm to hit Ireland in over 50 years and there is an onus on the Government to ensure that the country is as prepared as it can be for this very serious weather event. Some weather experts are warning that this hurricane could be as powerful as hurricane Debbie, which hit Ireland in 1961 which killed 18 people.
“Met Eireann has already issued a red weather alert for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry, where the highest winds are being forecast. Heavy rain is also prediction and flooding in these areas is a real concern.
“While I welcome the fact that the National Emergency Coordination Committee is meeting today, I firmly believe the Government should have acted before now to put all local authorities, civil defence and emergency services on stand-by to ensure that they will be ready for when the storm hits.
“This Government needs to be more prepared for these kinds of weather events; they are no longer an exceptional occurrence. Hurricane Ophelia is due to be the worst storm to hit this country in over a decade, but we have less than 24 hours to prepare for it. There is very little point in battening down the hatches when the hurricane is upon us. We need a concrete plan and we need to see it now”.