IFA LAUNCHES FOUR-POINT STRATEGY TO KEEP RURAL IRELAND OPEN DURING SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS

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IFA LAUNCHES FOUR-POINT STRATEGY TO KEEP RURAL IRELAND OPEN DURING SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS
23 Dec 2010

IFA LAUNCHES FOUR-POINT STRATEGY TO KEEP RURAL IRELAND OPEN DURING SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS

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The IFA Executive Council has adopted a Strategy designed to alleviate the worst effects of the severe weather conditions on farm families and rural dwellers. IFA President John Bryan said he has sought a meeting with the National Emergency Response Committee to discuss the Association’s proposals.
 
The Strategy identifies a number of key measures which should be introduced to reduce the impact of prolonged freezing weather on rural communities, and ensure that people are not isolated from essential services.
 
Mr Bryan said, “Greater co-ordination and co-operation between farmers, local communities and agencies is required formulate a speedier and more effective response to the effects of snow and ice. Many of our members across our network of almost 1,000 branches have equipment available that can assist in keeping minor and secondary routes open.”
 
The IFA President said the Strategy sets out a response to four specific issues that have arisen during the recent harsh weather. He said he looked forward to a positive engagement with the National Emergency Response Committee as the Strategy contains measures which would go a long way to addressing the difficulties experienced by rural communities.
 
 
 
Ends.
 
Contact:
Niall Madigan<span>                (01) 450 1931/ 086 822 8635</span>
Morag Devins<span>                  (01) 426 0344/ 086 263 3940</span>
 
 
Attached are the actions required for the issues identified.
 
 
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<b><font size=”4″><font size=”3″>ISSUE 1: ACCESS TO GRIT AND SALT</font></font></b>

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<b>ACTION REQUIRED</b>
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(i) Each local authority should designate a range of civic amenity sites across the county as grit and salt collection points, during times of severe weather.
 
(ii) Each local authority should provide a contact number which rural dwellers can call to request that grit and salt are left in a specific location, in instances where it is not possible to travel to civic amenity sites.
 
(iii) Both the designated civic amenity sites and the contact phone number should be available on the local authority’s website and placed in an advertisement in local newspapers.
 
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<b>ISSUE 2 – Clearing of “<i>Black-Spots” </i>in Rural Areas</b>

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(i) Local authorities should enlist the services of a number of farmers*on a contract basis in each county, who are available on request to clear particular danger spots in rural areas.
 
(ii) These farmers can use their machinery and other equipment made available by the local authorities, such as snow ploughs, to resolve the difficulties identified.
 
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*Procedures such as this take place on an ad-hoc basis in some counties in Ireland currently. However, such procedures operate very efficiently in a structured format in many local authorities in the U.K. (e.g. Yorkshire)
 
<b>ISSUE 3 – Councils must indemnify Farmers who grit roads during Severe Weather<span>                                                                                             </span></b>

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(i) Councils must indemnify all farmers and community groups who voluntarily keep roads, school yards and other public areas clear during severe weather conditions.
(ii) Councils must encourage the clearing of snow and ice from footpaths in front of commercial businesses and private households, by clarifying and changing the law so businesses and individuals will not be legally liable when clearing the snow.<span>    </span>
 
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<b>ISSUE 4 – Reduced Availability to Public Water Supply</b>

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(i) Local Radio Stations should be informed of all restriction on the supply of water and an indicative timeframe of when the supply will be restored.
(ii) Notification of water restrictions should be posted on the local authority’s website.
(iii) County Councils should provide a recorded message service, listing the times and areas of disrupted water supplies.
 
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