Niamh Kavanah, Ireland's representative for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest has confirmed to esctoday.com that the Irish delegation are in the process of organising emergency travel arrangements after the ash cloud caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland once again closed Irish airspace. The delegation are due in Oslo, Norway for their first Eurovision Song Contest technical rehearsal at 12.30 local time on Wednesday.
Irish airpace is now closed due to the ash cloud, preventing any air travel in the name of safety. Airspace is expected to remain closed until Tuesday at the earliest, meaning travel chaos for the Irish delegation. Airports in England and Scotland are also under threat of imminent closure.Instead of flying on Tuesday evening, the delegation are now preparing to leave Ireland in the next few hours, with a three day land and sea journey to reach Olso by mid-day on Wednesday.
Speaking to Nimah Kavanagh this morning, she told esctoday.com that:
"A lot depends on today's prognosis, but it's not looking good. It could be a big long journey on trains and boats. We might not all get there in time for Wednesday. it all depends if the airports open on Tuesday. We could be on a ferry by 9pm tonight."
Asked about how the travel problems are affecting her preparations for Oslo, Niamh remained typically upbeat, telling us:
"Obviously, I could do without a long journey. I don't want to be arriving in Oslo wrecked, but there's no question about missing the rehearsal. I'd rather we were travelling together but it'll be an adventure. You know me, let's just get it on with it and go. I'll just have to take it a bit easier for the few days after we arrive."
"We could get so far and then get a plane to fly us. It seems to be affecting us more than anyone else, but if the cloud hits Oslo, there could be many people in the same boat as us. Let's hope that doesn't happen".
Asked if the whole delegation will travel together, Niamh explained:
"Nicki and Ed, two of our backing singers are not necessarily going to be able to leave with us tonight. They could be the lucky ones though, if the air opens on Tuesday and they get there easily.
"We need to see how it looks and try to get hte sound right in the first rehearsal, but we'll still get the look and feel and go with that if they don't make it. If we have to drag people on stage for the cameras, that's what we'll do. What a story, it's going to be a big adventure".