MACROOM Town Council are to demand a safety audit of the town's new pedestrian bridge before it opens - with one councillor describing the €1m project as looking "like a piebald donkey."
Councillors rounded on the National Roads Authority this week over the quality of the works carried out on the historic bridge over the Sullane River at the local authority's monthly meeting this week.
Town Engineer Damien Murphy revealed that the NRA, which is in charge of the project, has scheduled the opening for the weekend of February 7.
The news was met with concern and criticism from elected members, however.
Cllr Pat O'Connell (FF) said that Castle Street, on the east side of the bridge was a serious health and safety concern, as pedestrians coming from the west side of the river would cross the new pedestrian path but would then be forced onto the road due to a lack of path joining the bridge to the pavement at the town square.
"That bridge should not be opened until the place is made safe, it is a serious health and safety issue. For a €1m project it looks fierce shabby, it's like a piebald donkey," he said.
His concerns were echoed by fellow councillors who criticised several aspects of the works, from the plastering of the walls to the railings installed.
"For years and years and years we've been looking for a path on that bridge to make it safe, but you wouldn't sleep at night thinking about what they've done. It is the desecration of our bridge, that's the only word for it," Cllr Martin Coughlan (Lab) said, praising Mr Murphy's efforts to "keep on top of them."
"What architect and engineer designed this job? Whoever it was should be brought to the castle gates and hung there. It is an appalling piece of work.
"They have destroyed our town. They started with our Christmas tree and we have only just got over that shock," he added.
Cllr Coughlan complained that the council were not allowed do their own work on the bridge for heritage preservation reasons, but that the NRA "can do what they want."
Councillors also raised concerns that the wall between the road and pedestrian path would be knocked easily by passing vehicles.
Town Manager Sharon Corcoran said the Council would undertake a health and safety audit before giving its consent to opening it to the public.