Ireland's Minister for Transport and Tourism Leo VaradkarGoogle Images

The Irish government has forked out $21.7 million (€16 million) on 200,000 tonnes of gritting salt in anticipation of the promised cold snap in the coming months. They have also assured the public they are better prepared for bad weather than at any stage in the past.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Defence Alan Shatter launched a Winter-Ready information campaign on Wednesday morning.

Shatter told the crowd he wanted to ensure that authorities had learnt from mistakes they had made in the past.
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Varadkar assured people the State will be more prepared than ever before: "Having said that,
Mother Nature is more powerful than any Government so it won’t be business as usual” if the country experiences another major weather event.”

Having purchased 200,000 tonnes of salt, he said this was twice the level bought last year and three times the level bought for what you would predict in a normal year. He accepted the fact that all of the salt may not be required.

"You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t," he said.

Varadkar added that Irish airport authorities had invested in $9.5 million (€7million) in equipment to allow them to clear runways twice as fast as they did last year.

Shatter said the main objective of the campaign was to provide practical advice on how to prepare for the coming winter months. The Government has established a website, where advice will be available throughout the season.