The chairperson of the Fermoy Municipal Authority has praised the work of Cork County Council for positively dealing with the impact and aftermath of ex-Hurricane Ophelia across the county since the storm made land in Ireland on Monday morning.
Several hundred phone calls were made to the Council in relation to storm damage in recent days and staff have been working to ensure that electricity and water was returned as quickly as possible to the public, as well as working to ensure that blocked roads were cleared.
Cllr Frank O’Flynn said the communication between the Council and the public was ‘first rate’. Speaking to The Avondhu, he said: “I think their communication over the last few days was absolutely magnificent; the way they kept us informed, be it online, through email, on the radio; they used Twitter, Facebook, they did everything to inform people of when services would be returning.”
He also complimented the Council’s outdoor staff for their swift responses to incidents around the municipal district and for the long hours they have put in since Monday.
The chairman also thanked the ESB who were ‘working in difficult conditions’, though he expressed his surprise at the length of delays in returning electricity to some areas.
“There’s farmers in the area without electricity for quite a few days and that’s kept them from a lot of their work.”
He said he was often critical of Irish Water but wanted to thank them for 'coming on board' in the last few days.
"There’s been generators brought in from Portlaoise to Fermoy, Mitchelstown, Glanworth, Doneraile and quite a few other areas so that’s been of huge help,” he said. However, he said that long-term, there needs to be a re-evaulation of various public services as the impact of climate change on Ireland’s weather heightens.
“Certainly I think we have to look at undergrounding more of the ESB cables. With climate change now, there’s going to be more severe weather like this in the future so now is the time to learn and make changes that will help us when the next storm comes along.”
Cork County Council said it received around 600 calls in relation to fallen trees throughout the county. More than 300 Council staff, 60 tree surgeons, and 100 tractors/JCBs worked to clear fallen trees and associated debris in order to make roads passable again.
All national roads in the county were made passable on Monday evening. The Council has urged motorists to continue to exercise care and to watch out for overhanging lines and branches as they travel over the coming days.
Cork East TD, Seán Sherlock, has added his thanks to the frontline workers of Cork County Council and the ESB along with emergency services for their actions in advance, during and in the aftermath of Storm Ophelia. “The lines of communication have been very good, this was well flagged," said Deputy Sherlock.
“The lack of mobile networks is hampering information flows but telecoms providers are working hard to get things going. I have been in contact with each agency involved in the clear up after the storm. We are trying to get high dependency medical cases being cared for at home prioritised for coverage and supplies in electricity and water.”