No we cannot cope with the weather. I disagree that this is freakish weather. I have experienced far worse in Ireland than we have had in the last few days. The floods over the last few weeks are far more freakish.
However, in the 80's we had snow ploughs. And gritters. And grit. And salt. And gardai. Does anyone remember getting their car treated to prevent rust from salt in the winter? Or washing the car underneath during bad weather to get rid of the salt picked up from the roads? (I am showing my age here!).
There are a number of problems:
1. There were very few gardai out last night. The roads weren't any worse for me than the previous night. So what happened that a 1 hour journey took 7 hours. Disgraceful and there is absolutely no excuse for this.
2. Councils were totally unprepared. And even though we have been expecting bad weather for several days, they don't seem to have done much to get their act together. Did you know that there is a salt mine in IRELAND that has not been contacted by any councils that have run out of salt?
3. The busses last night were told to stop and disembark their clients. So they pulled up in inappropriate places, turned off their heat and forced customers to get off. No alternative arrangements were made for them. No account was taken of their state of dress (dressed for commuting in a bus, not for a long walk in icy conditions). Absolutely disgraceful.
4. There is no master plan for Dublin (or anywhere in Ireland) that looks at disasters. Many services were available but not contacted yesterday that could have helped (such as private ambulances to help alleviate the 2 hour waits, giving farmers grit and asking them to sort out their local roads, etc.)
5. Drivers are totally unprepared. In fairness many drivers do not get a chance to practice or get used to icy roads. But how many drivers have prepared - like filling up on petrol, checking batteries, tyre pressure and lights, like carrying de-icer, spare clothes, walking boots, ropes, shovel, flask of hot tea/soup, mobile phone topped up, another person being told when you should return and what route you are taking, etc etc.
I was out of work today. Not because of bad roads, or bad weather. But because I cannot face another lengthy journey to get home this evening. The cost of this to employers must have been phenomenal for today alone.