Sinn Féin senator calls on Met Éireann to forecast weather warnings for entire island of Ireland
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Sinn Féin senator calls on Met Éireann to forecast weather warnings for entire island of Ireland

A SINN Féin senator has called on Met Éireann to offer all-island weather warnings after decades of "amputating" Northern Ireland from its forecasts.

Speaking on Wednesday, Party Spokesperson on North-South Integration Niall Ó Donnghaile slammed the national forecaster for excluding the six counties of the North from its meteorological alerts.

In a statement titled 'Why can't Met Éireann reflect all of Éireann?', Mr Ó Donnghaile urged Met Éireann chiefs to issue warnings for all 32 counties of the island because "weather knows no borders".

He said: "It is a cause of great frustration when the north-east of Ireland is amputated from maps that are supposed to be about alerting people to adverse or emergency weather situations.

"Weather knows no borders; neither should strategies that are meant to be about communicating the very real dangers posed by emergency weather situations".

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While some weather reports for Northern Ireland can be viewed on Met Éireann's website, the region is left greyed-out when national warnings such as the recent Status Yellow snow-ice alert are issued.

The Met Office issues warnings for Northern Ireland along with the whole of the UK, and has issued a similar amber freezing weather alert for the North this week.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Met Éireann said it was now "looking at ways that they could incorporate the warnings issued by the UK Met Office in displays in the future".

The encouraging response came after Mr Ó Donnghaile said he would write to the director of Met Éireann "seeking a meeting to discuss how they can better represent weather events occurring across the whole of the country".

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The former Lord Mayor of Belfast added: "While I understand that Met Éireann and the Met Office operate two different standards in relation to weather warnings, I don't believe these competing approaches should lead to an inability to represent weather situations when/where they occur across Ireland.

"Recently we have rightly seen many weather forecasters and broadcasters north and south take a positive initiative and accurately reflect the warnings in each part of the country, thereby improving information sharing and sensibly reflecting the status of weather warnings throughout our small island."

Met Éireann was formed in Dublin in 1936 as the Irish Meteorological Service, replacing the British Meteorological Office which was itself founded in 1880 before later becoming the UK Met Office.

The Irish national forecaster was rebranded with its current name on its 60th anniversary back in 1996.