The Taoiseach is aware of the problems with the Turlough Bridge and is ‘dealing with it’ with news on funding expected to be announced in a ‘relatively short time’.
The latest twist in the long running saga over the closure of the Turlough Bridge was revealed by Fine Gael Councillor Henry Kenny at last week’s Castlebar Electoral Area committee meeting.
The lack of funding to repair the bridge which has been closed for three years was robustly discussed with council officials accused of misleading residents. A delegation of residents from Turlough were at the meeting which heard that funding of €200,000 needed to repair the bridge had not been included in the roadworks programme.
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne called on the committee not to adopt the roadworks programme until the funding for the Turlough Bridge was included. Despite receiving support from fellow Independent councillor Frank Durcan, the proposal was not supported by the remaining councillors.
During the heated debate on the bridge and the reasons why funding was not included in the roadworks programme, Cllr Kenny raised hope that funding may be available when he indicated that the Taoiseach was informed on the problem and was ‘dealing with it’. In his short address to the meeting he said the matter on funding should be ‘before the County Council in a relatively short time’.
Earlier in the meeting Cllr Michael Kilcoyne challenged the Council officials on why they had only applied for funding when residents were made aware last July that funding had been applied for.
Senior Engineer, Patsy Walsh explained that they had informally asked the NRA last July if money would be available and were only told last September that no money was available. He said they then formally submitted an application in November but no money is available.
Mr Walsh added that there was no money to complete the bridge but they were continuing with preliminary work.
Cllr Durcan said the closure of the bridge was a ‘public scandal’ and said the problem was no more than a ‘glorified pothole’. Cllr Kilcoyne said in light of Cllr Kenny’s statement, the funding for the bridge should be included in the roadworks programme.
Cllr Cyril Burke said he understood the difficulty of the residents but there were serious health and safety issues surrounding the bridge. He said he was confident funding will be found and will be advanced as fast as possible but stressed the roadworks programme needed to be passed.
The roadworks programme was passed without funding for the bridge included.
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