Schools will have to close if a Status Red Alert is issued by Met Eireann.

That’s according to Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy who was speaking this morning.

The first heavy snowfall is expected later this evening, with the worst of the weather expected on Thursday evening and Friday.

Met Eireann is expected to issue a Status Red Alert over the next 48 hours.

Speaking to RTE this morning, Minister Eoghan Murphy said “If it goes to status red, we will be giving very direct advice to certain schools in parts of the country that they have to close because there will not be school transport there to feed them.”

“When we move to a red weather alert, be it for snow or ice, rain or wind, it tends to mean that you will be automatically closing down the school transport system. That will have more of an effect on schools than others. And it depends on how far that red weather alert is extended.”

“What we do is very much is keep a close eye on this brief, because the travel advisory is an important part of this so, if we get to a point in time where it looks like we will be getting to a red alert, that will mean for school transport that it will cease, that will then have an impact on certain schools and that will be a call that will be made by the National Emergency Coordination Group but with obviously the Department of Education represented in the room.”

Schools who may not be in a red alert area may still need to close anyway if the heating stops working or routes to the school are affected by snow.

Schools who avoid the red warning may choose to close in different events such as heating not working or routes to the building affected by snow.

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