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Red Alert prompts countywide closures and emergency measures

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Airport to close, while hospital cancels routine electives and outpatient appointments



Anton McNulty


Ireland West Airport Knock will be closed to the public tomorrow after the airlines cancelled their flights to and from the airport as a result of the threat of heavy snow and storm.
The upgrade in the weather warning by Met Éireann to status red for the entire country has also resulted in Mayo University Hospital (MUH) cancelling routine electives and outpatient appointments for today and tomorrow, Friday, March 2.
Met Éireann issued a status red weather warning for snow and ice for Connacht, Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan which is to last until 6am on Friday morning. A similar warning for the rest of the country will be in place until midday on Friday.
Met Éireann warned that sub-zero temperatures and icy conditions will continue for the rest of Thursday and tonight with strong easterly winds. They also warned that scattered heavy snow showers will lead to significant accumulations in some areas.
The country is currently bracing itself for Storm Emma as it prepares to hit Ireland from the south with heavy snow showers forecasted as it collides with cold Arctic air from the east, which has been dubbed The Beast from the East.
The east and south of the country has been badly affected by heavy snow and the public has been warned to stay indoors. Despite freezing temperatures, Mayo has escaped the worst of the weather with little snow hitting the county but that is expected to change with snowfall predicted later on Thursday night.
Ireland West Airport Knock was open and fully operational today (Thursday), but there were some delays to flights from the UK due to turbulent weather conditions in the UK. However following flight cancellations by Flybe, Aer Lingus and Ryanair as a result of the current weather, the airport will be closed on Friday and weather permitting will reopen for full operation on Saturday morning at 7am.
The red status warning resulted in the closure of all schools in the country and they will remain closed on Friday as will banks and post offices and many businesses. There will be no bus or train services operating on Friday as a result of the weather warning.
Saolta, the University Health Care Group which included MUH in Castlebar stated that they will continue to do everything possible to maintain all essential services to patients receiving planned cancer and renal but asked patients to please contact the hospital directly at 094 90 21733 and ask for duty manager Pager 607 if you have any concerns.
“All appointments cancelled during the period will be rescheduled and patients will be advised of their new appointment by their hospital. Patients should be advised that if they do attend the hospital today for a clinic appointment they will be seen.
“The hospital’s Emergency Department remains open 24/7 but continue to be busy and we expect difficulties around discharge planning as a consequence of the adverse conditions. We would ask that patients who are being discharged today (Thursday) are collected from the hospital as early as possible to avoid travelling during the worsening conditions forecast for this afternoon. We would encourage people to consider all options available to them for their healthcare needs and to protect the ED for those most seriously ill as delays can be expected,” they stated.

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