Irish Phrase Of The Day

"Cad atá ar súil agat ?" - What are you doing?

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Thurles Race Meeting Cancelled

Thurles Race Course

Horse Racing Ireland has confirmed that Thursday’s all-hurdle meeting at Thurles Race Track has been abandoned.
Officials at the Tipperary venue called off the meeting as the track was found to be unfit following an earlier inspection today.

Thurles are also due to stage an all-chase card on Friday, but the chase track is currently unfit for racing.
The situation regarding the rescheduling of the fixture will be made in due course.

Video - Snowing On The River Suir

It’s snowing on the river Suir and at this time of year our bird life take a back seat because they don’t get a handout when they so need it.

Our feathered friends try to scratch an existence under every bush for a meal and with the current prevailing weather conditions there is a shortage of food, due to the freezing snow covered ground, so they do need some help from you.

When it gets cold, birds need energy in the form of seeds and fat to keep them warm. Giving them food and ensuring they eat enough of it will build them up and help them maintain necessary adequate fat supplies. For birds the food and water provided in gardens can be the difference between life and death.

When temperatures fall below freezing, birds struggle to find the food they need to survive the winter in healthy conditions, vital for breeding in spring.

View this high definition video shot by Brian Corbett yesterday, entitled “Snowing At River”, which highlights the extreme conditions experienced by bird life along the River Suir, here in snow bound Thurles.

Snowing At River from Brian Corbett.

During cold snaps birds are more likely to seek sanctuary in gardens and providing food like meal worms, fatballs, crushed peanuts, dried fruit, seeds and grain can help them survive.

Freezing weather is a potential death sentence for many birds but by feeding the birds in your garden you can help them survive the worst of this winter weather. Just a little water, food and shelter can turn a garden into a vital haven for birds in the freezing winter months.

Remember, feeding birds is an easy way to start teaching children about wildlife. Providing food and water brings them closer for us to marvel at their exciting behaviour and wonderful colours.

Please feed the birds, and they will reward you  by reducing your garden insect pests come Springtime.

Minister OKeeffe Tells All Schools To Close

Batt O'Keeffe

The Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe TD, has told all primary and post-primary schools to close on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week due to the bad weather.

Minister O’Keeffe took the decision in the interest of the welfare of school children.

The Minister took the decision following a meeting today of the Government’s Emergency Planning Group and in the context of the poor weather outlook for the coming days.

Minister O’Keeffe stated:

“I took the decision to close all schools based on my concern for the health and safety of school children in these very challenging weather conditions. I considered, in particular, the forecast for snowfall on Sunday and Monday which will cause further disruption. Although most schools decided not to open this week and many more will take the same decision next week, I wanted to bring clarity and certainty to the position for parents and students by telling all schools to close. While it may be that some schools would have been in a position to open depending on the weather, I consider on balance that the responsible and prudent approach at this stage is to close schools in the interest of safety. I will be further reviewing the situation on Tuesday. I am taking this decision in particularly exceptional circumstances and against a backdrop of extremely bad weather conditions.”

Minister O’Keeffe stressed that the decision will not affect the local decision-making powers of school boards of management.

He further stated his Department officials will be discussing with the education partners ways in which the impact of the closures can be minimised, particularly for examination classes.

Note: Higher education institutions will make their own decisions on whether to open based on local roads and prevailing weather conditions.

Present Weather Set To Continue Until March

The current spell of bitterly cold weather is set to continue until the end of February or early March, interspersed with the occasional day or two of mild weather,according to predictions issued today by Jonathan Powell from Positive Weather Solutions.

Met Éireann says prolonged outbreaks of snow are likely later today in west Connaught and Munster.

Opposition parties are calling on the Government to declare a national weather emergency and to mobilise the Defence Forces in assisting with road gritting.

Minister for Defence, Mr. Willie O'Dea TD

The Fianna Fail Defence Minister, Mr Willie O’Dea says members of the army may be deployed to help as the freezing weather looks set to continue. Large parts of the country are still in the grip of ice and snowy conditions today, as local authorities battle to keep roads clear and keep transport flowing. Before Christmas soldiers were deployed across the country to help residents and businesses during severe flooding in the South and West.

Speaking in Limerick this morning Willie O’Dea said they may be used again in the coming days.

“If you have a situation whereby people, such as farmers or people living in remote areas get isolated, can’t get food, can’t get fodder to cattle;  then the army may very well have a role”, he said.

Italy has sent hundreds of soldiers to the streets of Milan to help ease circulation after heavy snowstorms and freezing temperatures closed airports and grounded trains, stranding thousands of commuters and holiday shoppers.

The Government’s Emergency Response Committee is to meet this morning to review the impact of the ongoing cold snap.Officials from the Departments of Transport, the Environment and Health will attend the meeting, as will representatives from the various emergency services.

Meanwhile, motorists are advised to look out for potential skid traps, black ice and frost (particularly on bridges).Black ice is most rampant on very cold days on wet roads, especially at night, on exposed bends, underneath trees and bridges and also on higher ground. Reduce speed as soon as you see a potential skid spot.

Fine Gael North Tipperary Deputy Noel Coonan said the Government must immediately:-
1. Put one body in charge of overseeing the national response.
2. Conduct an immediate audit of all grit supplies. Thousands of tons of low cost grit are readily available here in Ireland.
3. Assess the state of all significant roads, both national and regional, on an ongoing basis.
4. Plan ahead for the next weeks and months.

What To Do If You Find Yourself Skidding

1) Don’t brake fast under any circumstance – if it’s too late and you have already braked, release them immediately, then reapply, quicker but gently.

2) Reduce acceleration but don’t take your foot off the accelerator completely.

3) Use the highest gears possible under the conditions, and as you gently brake, move down in your gears to come to a gradual halt.

Extra Race Meeting Scheduled For Thurles

Thurles Race Course

Horse Racing Ireland has announced that there will be a replacement National Hunt meeting at Thurles on Friday, 15 January next.

This means there will now be a two-day meeting at Thurles on Thursday14th and Friday15th. However due to the recent inclement weather and the current state of the ground at Thurles, Horse Racing Ireland have rearranged the programme of races for this two day meeting to read as follows:

The meeting on Thursday, 14th  January will comprise a Seven Race Programme of which six races will be hurdle races and one race will be a bumper.

The meeting on Friday, 15th January will be a Six Race Programme consisting solely of six steeplechases.

Trainers are strongly advised that both of these meetings will close for entries by 12.00 noon on Monday next, January 11th and any entries already made must be repeated, using the new meeting numbers and letters that will be published on RAS/Minitel in due course.