Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has urged people to exercise the utmost caution and avoid taking unnecessary risks as Storm Hannah moves closer to the Irish coast.
Speaking from Ennis in County Clare, the Ireland South MEP also urged employers to make the safety of their employees and customers their priority.
“By all accounts it seems that Storm Hannah is going to be an incredibly powerful storm and while we can’t say exactly the effect it will have I would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to people’s safety,” she said.
“It was only last year Storm Ophelia struck with shocking savagery, tragically taking three lives in the process, so I would urge people not to take any risks. Get home, stay home and stay safe.
“Indeed it is disappointing that such a common sense approach to an impending storm is not already legislation.
“In the wake of Ophelia last year Sinn Féin proposed the Extreme Weather Bill, which would have enhanced public safety and ensured the safety of rescue service personnel during weather warnings, such as the one bearing down on the west and south west right now.
“It would also have imposed penalties on those who would put lives in danger through reckless behaviour during an extreme weather warning and would have ensured that employees are not penalised for staying away from their place of work during a Status Red severe weather warning.
“Unfortunately, neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil felt workers’ lives were worth protecting and voted down the bill on the basis that closing a business early should be a personal preference, essentially outsourcing the government’s duty to protect citizens to the private sector.
“Regardless, I would urge people to put their safety and the safety of those around them first. Get home and stay safe; the consequences of taking a chance and hoping for the best can be mercilessly cruel.”