The village of Park in the Sperrins gets the brunt of any wintry weather and this year was no exception. Lying at the foot of Sawel Mountain, the highest peak in the range, Park is struggling to uphold normal life with bin collections, food deliveries and water supplies all badly disrupted.
Councillor Thomas Conway has called for an emergency funding package to salt the roads — similar to the funds released last year to homes affected by flooding — as Roads Service is only able to grit main roads.
“If it snows anywhere we get the worst of it. Once you go off the main roads you are in big trouble,” he said.
“People can’t get heating oil because of the conditions, some of them haven’t got their bins lifted for three weeks — all in all it’s been a trying time.
Salt for people to grit their own areas has been in short supply as well, he said.
“There should be a strategic action that allows spend to take place automatically in an emergency such as this.
“You should expect forward planning if a storm like this does happen — that Roads Service is informed that it’s coming and make preparations for it.” Local business owner Michael McElhinney said some people haven’t been out of the house in four to five days.
“They’re relying on neighbours and people to do things for them — they need oil, gas, daily groceries. We’ve had big difficulties getting that to them,” he said,
“People understand that the weather is bad but if you are a prisoner in your own home it’s very unpleasant.
“The shortage of salt is the big factor that everyone is talking about
“There are gritters out there and they are doing the main roads and that is it — people in outlying areas seem to have been forgotten about.”