Roy Beggs MLA, who has lobbied on behalf of constituents isolated by huge snow drifts, without electricity and without water, has praised the efforts of NI Water, NIE and the Roads Service staff but indicated that efforts needed to continue.
Roy Beggs, Ulster Unionist MLA for East Antrim, said,“The extreme March weather has caused huge disruption to our roads, and the electricity and water supply to many. The Roads Service snow ploughs operators, local farmers and contractors have made most roads passable with care and must be thanked for their huge effort to date. I have nothing but admiration for the efforts of the NIE and NI Water engineers who braved the harsh conditions to return power and water to many homes and businesses. I would ask everyone to look out for vulnerable neighbours who may be suffering from the extreme weather condition.”
In the rural area around Carrickfergus and Larne, the high winds and ice has resulted in significant damage to power lines. Roy Beggs MLA praised NIE engineers for their speedy response to a dangerous high voltage cable lying across the Carnduff Road, Larne.
Roy Beggs MLA continued, “The East Antrim area seemed to bear the brunt of the extreme weather. I am aware of 7 foot snow drifts that continue to block roads in isolated rural areas such as the Loughmourne Road between Carrickfergus and Larne and in the hills above the Glens of Antrim. Efforts need to continue to open up all roads so food and essential supplies can get through to everyone once more.”
Turning to NI Water, Roy Beggs MLA said, “NI Water engineers must be complimented for their resourcefulness in returning a water supply to the Slimero Storage Reservoir which has been cut off by huge snow drifts and with its power lines inaccessible to repair. It is clear that in the longer term, NI Water need to build great resilience into their water supply, especially in remote hilly areas such as Slimero which are susceptible to high winds and the risk of significant snowfall.”
The Slimero storage facility supplies an area between Ballyvallagh Road, Larne and Liberty Road, Carrickfergus. The loss of power lines had prevented the pumping of water to this isolated rural storage tank. Seven foot snow drifts prevented NIW and NIE engineer from carrying out repairs. The loss of water supply for 48hrs has created difficulty not only for man but had also created concerns from farmers for the welfare of their animals.”
The Ulster Unionist MLA said “I would like to praise the combined efforts of the Roads Service who opened road access to Crosshill and for NI Water who have provided a temporary back-fed supply to the Slimero water storage facility. This has been to the relief of local residents and in particular to local farmers caring for the welfare of their animals. Efforts must be maintained to open all roads to end isolation and to enable NIE and NI Water to complete their repairs.”