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Then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on the Séan O'Casey Bridge in 2007 Photocall Ireland
sean o'casey bridge

Celtic Tiger-era Liffey bridge can’t open due to “lack of funding”

The Seán O’Casey Bridge was completed in 2005. It’s designed to open to shipping, but the authority that manages it says that’s not possible at the moment.

Updated 22:30

THE SÉAN O’CASEY BRIDGE, which spans the Liffey between the IFSC and City Quay, is currently unable to open to shipping.

Commissioned in 2002 by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, the footbridge was designed to improve pedestrian connections in the area — at the time a rapidly expanding section of the city.

Like the East Link, and later addition the Samuel Beckett Bridge, the steel footbridge is designed to open to shipping — allowing sail craft and other vessels upriver as far as the Talbot Memorial Bridge.

The design includes two 44-metre-long arms, capable of swinging open, and closing again when required.

That operation is controlled by remote control – technically a “remote radio hand held pendant key”.

TheJournal.ie understands that key was lost in 2010.

A spokesperson for the DDDA did not respond directly to the question of the lost key, but confirmed a “lack of funding” meant a bridge opening hadn’t been possible for some years.

According to a statement:

“We have continued to maintain the bridge from a Health and Safety perspective.

“We currently have an engineering review ongoing which should result in a Bridge opening in the coming months.”

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The Seán O’Casey pedestrian bridge [Photocall Ireland]

Minister for Local Government Phil Hogan announced last year that the Dublin Docklands Development Authority was to be wound up, following the publication of a damning report by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The report highlighted failings in the Authority’s decision making processes surrounding its decision in to become involved in the purchase of the former Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend.

Samuel Beckett

There have also been problems with another of the city’s Celtic Tiger-era bridges recently. Earlier this month, an issue arose as the swing-section of the Dublin City Council-controlled Samuel Beckett Bridge was being closed.

The cable-stays that support the structure had expanded slightly while it was opened to allow a ship through, meaning the mechanisms couldn’t reconnect immediately when it was closed again.

Tugboats with high-powered hoses were called in to spray the cables down, cooling them so the bridge could reconnect as normal.

The Council said at the time that the event “wouldn’t be untypical” and that the cable-stays were due to be retensioned in the coming months.

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Tugboats spray the cable-stays at the Samuel Beckett Bridge [Image: Benjamin Lawlor]

First published 07:00.

Related: Docklands chair: Governments had 14 years to close Glass Bottle loophole

Pictures: Problems with Sam Beckett bridge lead to spectacular recreation of ‘rainbow’ ad

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