Many rural communities have been cut off by snow drifts and have required the assistance of the Air Corps. Could action have been taken sooner?

Isolated communities are snowed in for a fourth day in a row. In Blessington in County Wicklow the Gardaí called in the army helicopters to deliver food parcels to cut off areas. Supplies of dried milk, tea and sugar were dropped to the villages of Lacken, Kippure and Ballyknockan.

Reporter Olivia O'Leary was in Ballyknockan, a village of about 200 people, where she spoke to locals who have been snowed in for a few days to find out how they have been coping. They discuss the lack of support they have received from the county council and the restricted access to services.

Reporter Joe Little travels with the Air Corps to the ESB power station at Turlough Hill where they will assist to survey freezing pipes in the upper lake. They also deliver supplies and medical services to rural locations where residents have been completely isolated.

A pilot tells 'Today Tonight' about the work of this unit of the Air Corps which has been in existence since the introduction of the helicopter in 1963.

It's probably the first time that most people realise that there is an Air Corps.

An Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald comments on the ongoing efforts by the army and the powers of the local authorities to clear the snow and get supplies to those in need.

We're not obviously geared to clear things over night.

Minister for Defence James Tully commends the efforts of the Irish Army and the Civil Defence and says it is impossible to give an estimate of the cost of the emergency at this stage.

A 'Today Tonight' report broadcast on 11 January 1982. The reporters are Olivia O'Leary and Joe Little.