Saturday 17 March 2018

Protesters to keep up round-the-clock campaign against new bridge

Sam Griffin

A GROUP protesting at the construction of a new bridge in Kilkenny City say they will continue a 24-hour presence on the site for "the foreseeable future".

The group have been actively campaigning at the site by the Nore river in the city near Green Bridge and Irishtown.

Protesters say the construction of the proposed bridge, which is being supported by Kilkenny City Council, will damage the city's medieval heritage.

They also say that the money being spent on the bridge should instead go towards completing an unfinished ring-road around the city.

In the early hours of yesterday morning, contractors working on the bridge moved several pieces of construction machinery on to the site, supported by around 40 gardai including officers in riot gear.

Cllr Malcolm Noonan, who is campaigning against the development of the bridge at its proposed location, says there were only two protesters at the site when the construction machinery was brought into the site.

"At about 4.15 this morning they moved machinery on to the site supported by gardai. They'd been trying to do that for a number of days now but had been unable to because of the protest."

He said there were between 30 and 40 protesters on site during the day and that the objective was to maintain "a 24-hour presence, seven days a week".

The proposed plans will see the new development cut through the old cathedral quarter of the city. Protesters also say the bridge will bring in excessive levels of HGV traffic into the city. Kilkenny City Council has argued that the bridge will alleviate traffic on an older 18th Century bridge which is struggling to cope with an increase in HGV traffic and which is in poor condition. It also says the new project is mostly already funded whereas the Northern Ring Road may not be funded for at least a decade.

The issue will be discussed at a council meeting on Monday.

Irish Independent

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