DRD won't clear paths, it's more a case of DIY
Stormont will not take responsibility for clearing footpaths from ice and snow - but people can do it themselves.
That is the official advice contained in a new pamphlet from the Department of Regional Development, which made clear: "(We do) not normally salt footways but, where resources permit, will work with councils during prolonged periods of snow and ice to clear footways in busy town centres."
And it goes on: "People often ask if legally they can clear snow and ice. The fact is there's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the footway outside your home or from public spaces."
The pamphlet also refers to a 2010 ruling by the NI Attorney General advising: "If you clear snow/ice carefully you are unlikely to be held liable."
The issue arises every winter in Northern Ireland with people expecting local councils to be responsible for clearing snow in streets and estates.
But DRD officials also insisted: "Commercial property owners in particular should make sure that they have adequate supplies of salt in place to ensure the safety of employees and visitors.
"Salt bins are provided to allow salt to be spread on adjacent public roads, on a self-help basis.
"Unfortunately, we cannot issue salt to members of the public at TransportNI Depots, largely because these are workplaces with heavy vehicles turning and reversing.
"Despite everyone's best efforts there is no guarantee that roads will always be completely free of ice," it added.