Limited supplies

Bread rationed to one loaf per customer in Meath store

Louise Walsh

Bread rations have been introduced in Meath by one businessman who has sold over 3,000 sliced pans to snow-panicked shoppers in the last two days.

Owner Jim Bird felt it was 'only fair' to ration the bread at his stores at SuperValu in Navan, Centra in Athboy and Ballivor and Daybreak in Athboy this morning.

As Storm Emma hit Ireland, a status red weather alert was issued for counties including Meath, which sent food shoppers into an added frenzy.

"It's just been mayhem here and we just wanted to be fair to all our customers so that everyone will hopefully get something.  People have been stockpiling since Monday," he said.

"It was like Christmas Eve at all our stores here yesterday and today. We've easily sold at least 3,000 sliced pans in the last two days.

"We've actually sold one week's supply of bread in less than two days - that's the height of the panic.  But I think people are now half expecting the rationing."

It's not just bread either as shelves empty in the four stores of other food and drink items.

"It's very hard to keep vegetables, steaks and stewing beef on the shelves as well as milk. 

"We've also sold a lot of bottles of whiskey, coffee and cream so I'm sure you can guess what people are putting together," laughed Jim as he hinted at the love for Irish coffees.

However Jim - who has not seen the same level of panic buying since the snow in 2010 - added that deliveries of food items could well be a major problem in the coming days.

"Deliveries are the biggest issue.  I've been onto one of our suppliers, asking for tomorrow's delivery today but I've been told it's not possible as 60pc of drivers couldn't get to work this morning.

"Bread suppliers have also told me in the last hour that they're uncertain about deliveries tomorrow.  Accessibility to the stores will be problem as the road get icier. 

"The forecast is bad. That's not scaremongering, that's reality and I'll have to also think of safety of my 110 staff and ascertain whether to keep my stores open in the coming days."

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