Ministers on hand to launch new "Winter Ready" campaign

New drive urges the public to "be prepared" after heavy flooding took its toll last winter

Ministers on hand to launch new "Winter Ready" campaign

A dog stands on sandbags following flooding in Carrickobrien, Ireland. Image: Brian Lawless PA Archive/PA Images

The Government has launched a 'Be Winter Ready' campaign ahead of the Christmas season.

After heavy flooding took its toll on communities around the country last year, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the measures people can take to stay safe.

A host of ministers including Housing Minister, Simon Coveney and Transport Minister, Shane Ross were on hand to launch the campaign at the National Emergency Coordination Centre in Dublin this afternoon.

Minister of State, Paul Kehoe said the main aim is to ensure people know where to go for help in an emergency:

Although the campaign is about preparing for the worst, Gerald Fleming, head of Met Eireann’s General Forecasting Division, said it is far too difficult to predict what kind of winter may be ahead.

“I think every year we have to emphasise that the science of weather forecasting is such - in this part of the world - that forecasting a season ahead is really an impossible business,” he said.

Referencing today’s US presidential result, Mr fleming said “we have all seen in the last 24 hours how statistics in another area of prediction can lead us astray.”

“Certainly in the weather area we are very aware of the limitations of our ability to forecast,” he said.  

The current wintery spell is set to continue, for the time-being at least, with Met Eireann predicting heavy showers with the possibility of hail and thunder over the coming days. 

Through a dedicated website, the new campaign brings together a range of emergency services including the gardaí, HSE and the Office of Public Works to provide categorised advice for different situations.

The campaign aims to inform on how best to prepare for the winter and reassure the public that preparations are underway to “ensure a coordinated response to severe weather events.”

The assembled ministers stressed that the main message behind the campaign is “to be prepared, stay safe and know where to find help if you need it.”