Schools may not close during future orange weather warnings, Tanaiste says

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that schools will not necessarily be closed during future orange weather warnings.

He was speaking after the Government decided to close schools in orange warning areas for the second day in a row due to Storm Barra.

The decision led hundreds of thousands of working parents having to take care of children who would otherwise be in schools or creches, despite less severe weather in some areas like Dublin.

Parts of the country did experience extreme weather and red warnings were in place for some counties.

The decision to close schools and childcare in the capital came late last night after Met Éireann changed its categorisation to orange for the early part of the morning.

At a press conference in Drogheda Mr Varadkar was asked if the schools closure in Dublin was an overreaction.

Mr Varadkar said: “Traditionally what we’ve done is when there’s a red weather warning, schools are closed.

“When there’s an orange weather warning, they’re not.”

He said: “The Government took a decision on Monday, that because of the nature of this particular weather event that we would close schools in the orange areas.”

“That was because of the nature of the of the weather event which involved rain and snow and wind and also floods so that’s why that decision was taken,” Mr Varadkar added.

He said the decision “was certainly one that was precautionary, and one that was designed to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life.”

Asked if schools would be closed in orange warning areas for future storms this winter, Mr Varadkar replied: “Not necessarily.”

“As I say this is the first time that we’ve closed schools as a result of an orange warning.

“It’s always the case that we close them as a result of a red warning.”

He said it was “done for good reason” to mininimise injury or loss of life and due to the nature of Storm Barra.

Mr Varadkar said: “What we’ll do after the severe weather event, which is what we do after every severe weather event, is to review the response and see what lessons can be learned for the next storm.”

Mr Varadkar, the Minister for Enterprise, was in Drogheda to open an extension to the BD Medical Systems plant in Drogheda were 100 new jobs are being created.

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