Slow Govt response means salt resources desperately late – McEntee

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Conflict between Minister Gormley and NRA over three week delay exposes disjointed response

The fact that the Government is at loggerheads with one of its principle agencies over the issue of acquiring the salt needed to make roads safe undermines any confidence the public can have in their ability to deal with the current crisis, said Fine Gael Spokesperson for Road Safety, Shane McEntee T.D.

“The National Roads Authority has disputed Minister Gormley’s contention that he asked them to secure salt as a priority a number of weeks ago, saying their first direction only came last Thursday when the Emergency Response Committee was belatedly established.

“If the Minister cannot be straight and honest about what directions he has given and when he gave them, it removes any confidence the public can have in the ability of the Emergency Response Committee to deal with the current crisis.

“This three week delay means that significant salt resources will not arrive until 25th January. The Minister has acknowledged that 15,000 tonnes of salt are required per week to keep our roads safe in the current conditions. The 3,500 tonnes arriving tomorrow will not meet even the most immediate emergency requirements on a national level.

“Local Authorities have been telling the NRA and Government for weeks that salt stocks were running dangerously low. Yet there was no reaction, their hope was that the weather would change and the emergency would just disappear.

“Even now there is no guarantee that the current weather conditions will improve. We must prepare for the worst scenario so we can deal with the crisis if it persists. This combined Fianna Fail-Green Party Government claim they can lead us out of a financial crisis of their own creation when they cannot even secure salt and keep the country’s roads open.”