AS the wintry conditions caused a headache for many motorists this week, it was a welcome sign for many children as scores of schools were shut on Tuesday because of snow and freezing conditions around Lisburn.
It came a day after some motorists were stuck in traffic for several hours due to the wintry conditions across county Antrim and Down. Vehicles were abandoned and there were several reports of crashes.
A local man Morris McCabe praised the actions of two young boys who helped to divert traffic following a number of accidents at the bottom of Hill Street on Monday afternoon.
Some cars could not stop and slid out into the cars coming along Linenhall Street, others were running into cars coming out of the car park.
The two boys, one of whom did not have gloves or a hat, had been in the library saw the commotion and came out to direct traffic for two hours in the heavy show.
“Two young fellows took control of the situation,” said Mr McCabe. “One was from Hillhall estate while the other was from Seymour Hill estate. They directed cars on Linenhall Street to leave room for the cars on the hill to get through.
“One boy stopped the cars on the top of Hill Street to warn them to go really slow. For two hours or more they saved hundreds of pounds of damage. A police car arrived and left a bag of salt which the boys spread over the hill. Mr McCabe said that many motorists were caught out by the heavy snow, cars coming down Hill Street could not stop.
“This was a gallant effort by these two young fellows and they deserve a lot of praise and thanks. Sometimes the youth don’t get a good press but if this was anything to go by we can all raise our woolly hats to them for saving the day.”
Meanwhile, Translink said disruption had been caused to some of their services in parts of west Belfast on Monday and police closed the M1 heading out of Belfast from Stockman’s Lane to Black’s Road while Translink cancelled its Metro services in west Belfast. Badly-hit areas included Lisburn, Carryduff and Castlereagh.
Treacherous conditions were reported in the Hannahstown area near Dundrod and the Saintfield Road was extremely slow moving from Upper Galwally Road through to Carryduff.
Translink cancelled services in County Down and parts of Belfast due to the weather and other routes were operating with delays of at least an hour.
On Tuesday there were just a few traders who set up stalls at the weekly market at Lisburn Square as some simply could not travel into the city.
At the mid wife led maternity unit in Lagan Valley Hospital midwives went above and beyond the call of duty, some staying in to keep the services going, some starting their shift up to eight hours early at the weekend.
Sister Maria Burns of the midwife led unit said that as the unit was full, some staff on day duty stayed on to make sure that the services were delivered locally. The day time staff who were to start duty at 8am came in as early as 1am to make sure the women were accommodated.
“It meant that the ladies had a safe local service and they still had that one to one care,” said the sister. “Some midwives stayed on just to keep the service running smoothly. At night time we have a skeleton staff, so staff who were to come in in the morning came in early. It meant that the ladies did not have to go to other hospitals like the Ulster. It does not surprise me what the team did. It is a reflection of their characters. They are a good dedicated staff. We have a good team here.
“They went out of their way to keep the services going and to accommodate women and kept everything running as normal as possible.”
But no doubt many children cheered as many of the schools closed for the day due to health and safety risks. Among them were Seymour Hill Primary School, Dunmurry, Wallace High School and Preparatory Dept, Lisburn, McKinney Primary School, Dundrod, Dunmurry Primary School, Laurelhill Community College, Killowen Primary school, St Kieran’s Primary School, Poleglass, and Ballymacward Pre-School Playgroup, Stoneyford as well as Parkview School.
Other schools included St Joseph’s, Carryduff, Fort Hill College, Lisburn, St Kieran’s Nursery School, Poleglass, Holy Trinity Nursery School, Lisburn, Pond Park Primary School, Lisburn as well as Lisburn Central Primary School, Lisburn.
Good Shepherd Primary School, Poleglass, St Colman’s Primary School Lambeg, Downshire Primary School, Hillsborough and Riverdale PS, Lisburn were also closed.
Dromara Primary School, Dromara, Brownlee Primary School, Lisburn, Knockmore Primary School, Brookfield School, Moira
Ballymacash Primary School, Old Warren Primary School, and St Kieran’s PS were also closed.
Others affected included Pond Park Nursery School, St Colman’s Primary School, Lambeg, Rathmore Grammar School, Belfast, St Anne’s Primary School, Dunmurry, Carr Primary School, Lisburn, Downshire Primary School, Hillsborough, Dromara Primary School, Dromara Malone College, Belfast, St. Colm’s High School, Twinbrook, Jolly Pirates Pre-School Antrim Road, Lisburn, St. Mark’s Primary School and Nursery Unit, Twinbrook, Oakwood School & Assessment Centre, and Christ the Redeemer Primary School, Dunmurry, Lisburn.
On Wednesday Ballymacward Primary School and Pre-School Playgroup, Good Shepherd Primary and Nursery School, Dunmurry and St Caolan’s Primary School, Saintfield were also closed