Gritters in NI to operate on Christmas Day

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Image caption,
Conditions on the M2 have been treacherous at times in the last week

The Roads Service has confirmed that gritters will be out in Northern Ireland on Christmas Day as the cold weather continues to bite.

It said there had been scattered snow showers in Antrim, eastern areas of County Down and Belfast on Friday.

Emergency work taking place on the M2 on Friday morning has now been completed.

A Roads Service spokesperson said compacted snow and ice had been removed and both lanes are now open.

BBC NI weather forecaster Angie Phillips said the weather will remain icy on Christmas Day with severe frosts and freezing fog but no fresh snow.

Dublin airport reopened on Friday after heavy snowfalls caused delays to flights.

About 40,000 people were affected as 15,000 tonnes of snow was cleared from the runway on Thursday.

The airport reopened early on Friday but delays and cancellations are still expected. Passengers have been asked to contact their airline.

The airport has closed several times this week with the weather in Ireland described as the worst in December since records began in the 1850s.

Northern Ireland motorists have been some of the hardest hit in the UK in the icy conditions, according to the Automobile Association (AA).

An AA spokesman had said it expected to attend up to 19,000 call-outs across the UK on Thursday, with the highest number in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

He added that the breakdown workload had eased slightly, but it was still double the normal rate as Christmas getaway and shopping traffic peaked.

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