Clarke says lessons must be learnt from snow crisis

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Thursday, April 4th, 2013
Community
Alliance Party South Down spokesperson Newcastle Councillor Patrick Clarke has said that lessons must be learnt by the Departments for Agriculture and Regional Development in their reaction to the snow crisis in which many rural roads were impassable for several days and many farm livestock died. Clarke wrote to the Minister for DARD during the recent snow crisis which gripped many parts of South Down appealing for urgent assistance for rural farmers. Speaking to Newry Times, Clarke said, “Lessons must be learnt to ensure that Government Departments are better prepared for next time. It is clear that there were serious shortcomings in how such heavy snowfall was dealt with on rural roads within South Down and what help was initially provided to farmers. “Better plans must be put in place for all the different agencies to ensure that their reaction is improved for the next snow or extreme cold crisis. This is the latest in a number of severe cold weather periods in recent years, so we are likely to face similar weather conditions again in the future.” Clarke added, “We must ensure that the Road Service has the right vehicles to be able to deal, not just with gritting roads but also clearing such heavy snow which blocked a number of rural roads across South Down.” “The livelihoods of many farmers have been seriously threatened if not destroyed by this crisis in South Down. The Department of Agriculture must do all that is possible so that it and farmers themselves are better prepared for the future.”

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