Lessons need to be learned
The last few weeks have certainly tested the resolve, character and patience of the county's people as they strive to keep things going in extremely cold and bitter weather conditions. Most schools have been closed for the last fortnight, farmers have struggled with their livestock and many, many people were inconvenienced because of the treacherous driving conditions.
The last few days have brought a welcome thaw, but it will take some time for the full extent of the latest cold snap to be realised. Slippery roads, even more treacherous driving conditions and burst pipes is the next bother ahead for many.
In 2010 Ireland experienced its worst December for many years. Unfortunately, nothing at all was learned by those with the responsibility for keeping things ticking over. The shortage of salt meant roads weren't treated and when the snow became caked onto the road surface earlier this month, the only thing we could all do was wait for was an increase in temperatures before driving conditions became any way safer.
Local trader)))))s, quite rightly, have been expressing their anger and frustration at the inadequate response to the Arctic conditions. Having experienced a significant reduction in business in the first eleven months of this year compared to 2009, the last thing traders needed was a situation where customers weren't in a position to travel to them.
As 2010 draws to a close, the hope is that if or when the country is gripped in another big freeze, the resources will be available to deal with things immediately. Failing to plan is planning to fail and while the local authority staff along with members of the Irish Army worked tirelessly to clear icy footpaths in many towns in Donegal, the truth is things should never have been allowed to get as bad as they were.
Over the coming days and weeks, it's important that the elderly and those who live alone are kept in touch with. This is one extremely important thing we can all do.