Monday, 13 December 2010

Grit your teeth

THERE is a seemingly stupid level of bureaucratic insanity that abounds in Norn Iron; at times it reaches levels of Kafkaesque surrealism.

Now that temperatures have reached heady heights of single figures in what can be described as a thaw the issue of gritting footpaths will fade from radio talkshows for now.

But let’s recap. The snow and ice left a wake of icy roads and footpaths. The Roads Service gritted as much as possible in damned cold weather. They said simply they could not afford to grit the footpaths. Some councils decided they could, others said they couldn’t.

For several days footpaths across Norn Iron were dangerous to those venturing out.
There was much disagreement over who would be liable over claims and a lot of confusing comments from local council spokespeople and Department of Regional Development.

As they were waffling on the airwaves and penning comment pieces in newspapers a simple fact existed – most footpaths were still treacherous to pedestrians, with no doubt the resultant increase in trips to A&E with fractures.

Over 12 days many footpaths were left ungritted. We restate that because there is obviously some form of sheer lunacy that renders grown ups incapable of picking up the phone, arranging a quick meeting.

And the agenda of that meeting should be very simple and clear – let’s agree a way to get the gritting done.

These grown ups prefer to look for an imagined claim for injuries that may or may not happen as a way of avoiding making a collective decision.

The only joined up government is the joint repairs of a pensioner waiting in a hospital ward for an operation after toppling on an icy pavement.

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