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31/07/2021

Concerns raised after Waterford employees forced to travel to work in Status Red storm

Concerns raised after Waterford workers forced to travel in Status Red storm

Cllr Conor D. McGuinness has criticised Met Éireann's Storm Ellen weather warning

Sinn Féin's Cllr Conor D. McGuinness has criticised the decision not to give a Status Red weather warning to County Waterford ahead of Storm Ellen’s arrival last week. 

Cllr McGuinness said Met Éireann have a "difficult and thankless job" when it comes to predicting the weather or issuing warnings, but said the national meteorological service "dropped the ball" last week. 

“A Status Red warning was in place for Cork for several hours before the storm made landfall, however the warning for Waterford was not upgraded. Projections leading up to the storm showed it making landfall in the East Cork and West Waterford coasts," Cllr McGuinness. 

Cllr McGuinness said he asked Met Éireann to revise its weather warning for Waterford in the hours before it arrived. “A Status Red warning gives workers protection to stay at home for their own safety, while a Status Orange warning does not," he said. 

“I was inundated with calls from workers who were due on shift just as the storm was expected to be at its strongest. They had an unenviable dilemma, go to work and take a risk on the road, or stay home and lose a day’s pay and risk a disciplinary. 

“The discrepancy led to a situation where workers from Youghal were protected while their colleagues in Ardmore, Clashmore or Cappoquin were expected to travel the same roads, in the same storm, to the same workplace for the same shift. 

“This cannot be allowed to happen again. I understand that weather predictions are uncertain by definition, but I would hope Met Éireann learn from this event and endeavour to offer the same protection to all workers affected, regardless of county bounds.”

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