€40,000 for Feasibility Study and Design of Barrack Street Footbridge Project

The site for the proposed footbridge from inside the narrow Barrack Street Bridge to the Spraoí Oileán Chiarraí playground at Tonbwee. ©Photograph: John Reidy
The 2005 constructed footbridge at Church Street Bridge just a couple of hundred yards upstream from Barrack Street. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Welcoming the movement on the Barrack Street footbridge project are: Cllr. Charlie Farrelly, Independent; Cllr. Bobby O’Connell, Fine Gael; Jackie Healy Rae, Independent and Kerry Green Party representative, Cleo Murphy. ©The Maine Valley Post

There has been a broad welcome here in Castleisland for the announcement that €40,000 – yes that’s forty thousand Euro – has been made available in the first costly blow to provide a safe pedestrian passage inside the old Barrack Street Bridge.

The €40,000 is for a feasibility study and design only of the pedestrian facility planned to slot inside the old bridge to and from the town’s playground amenity where the existing and ancient bridge is very narrow.

How – In the Name of God

People are feeling the need to  ask how in the name of God  a feasibility study and a design process can swallow €40,000 for so little in return.

Local parents and guardians, with fun seeking children, will know that the trip to the playground can be fraught with danger as the bridge crossing narrows like the neck of a bottle and this exposes children to a fairly busy stream of two-way traffic.

Bridge Used by Daniel O’Connell

The road at both sides of the bridge is accommodating enough but the bridge, over which The Liberator himself, Daniel O’Connell would have crossed in his time, poses the danger there.

A similar structure was put in place over the very same stretch of the River Maine upstream on Church Street and this guides shoppers to and from Garvey’s SuperValu – and was equally crucially needed at its time of construction to coincide with the supermarket’s move to the location from Main Street in the summer of 2005.

Cllr. Farrelly Vocal on Issue

Cllr. Charlie Farrelly was vocal in advancing the Barrack Street pedestrian bridge cause over the years – and he carried out his own feasibility study on an abandoned structure in Killarney which he thought would suit the Castleisland job.

That abandoned bridge structure in Killarney cost €80,000 to build and the purpose of its construction was never fulfilled.

Cllr. Bobby Won the Race

The reaction race to this week’s announcement was won by Cllr. Bobby O’Connell with Cllr. Jackie Healy Rae a very close second while the project champion, Cllr. Charlie Farrelly came in at his ease in third place.

There was a comment too from Green Party member and election candidate, Cleo Murphy.

Ms. Murphy said that the funding is part of the Active Travel Scheme that the Green Party has been pushing for and the announcement was made by her party leader, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.

“Almost €2 million is to be invested in cycling and walking facilities across Kerry to help us adapt to new ways of moving about,” Cleo said.

She is keeping a very close eye on local matters from her base in Kenmare and is clearly being kept very much in the loop by party colleagues at the big table in Dublin.

Someone Please Explain !

Maybe someone who knows could explain how this sort of serious money can be consumed within offices where feasibility studies are compiled and in the kind which would design a foot-bridge over a narrow little river in a small town in South West Ireland.

And remember this money is meant only for thinking about it or studying its feasibility and then to design the greatly needed safety facility – a not so thin end of a very fat wedge.

Out of Focus with the Image

It just seems so completely out of focus with the image of a structure needed to take people and the children in their care away from the two-way Barrack Street traffic as they make their way to and from the joys of the local playground.