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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019
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Protester builds 'raft' to stop building of controversial Kilkenny bridge

The council was told that it has no power to halt the building of the disputed bridge.

Updated 4.45pm

A computer generated graphic of the planned bridge. Source: Kilkenny County Council

ONE OF THE protesters against a bridge being built in Kilkenny has built a ‘raft’ in the river near the construction site.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, told TheJournal.ie that he built the raft yesterday and spent last night and today inside a tent on it. He had briefly left to go back to his home but intends on returning shortly.

He said that he has not heard from any authorities about the raft, or been asked to move. Canoes belonging to other protesters can be tethered to the raft and it is “just something for people to gather around” he said.

It is also there to “try and stop [construction workers] driving piles into the river and try and stop them building the massive bridge through the medieval heart of Kilkenny, which the majority of Kilkenny people don’t want”, he stated.

He is from the town and is opposed to the building of the bridge, but “totally in favour of building another bridge” to connect to the ring road.

“I think we should not build bridges, we should deal with the traffic,” he said. “I’d love to see Kilkenny being pedestrian and green, and with cycle lanes. We need to try and get traffic outside of the city.”

Controversy

The works on the proposed Kilkenny Bridge, which has been the subject of much controversy, were halted last Thursday after protesters entered the water.

Some went out in a canoe in order to stop the construction equipment on site from operating.

Temporarily suspended

Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council (KCC) Patrick Millea told TheJournal.ie  that the works remain suspended, adding that “in our view [the Councillors'] it is temporary”. He said the hope is that the works will resume in the next day or two.

At an emergency meeting of the council on Saturday, its solicitor informed members that KCC “doesn’t have the power to stop the building of the bridge”, said Cllr Millea.

He added that “nobody objects to the protest as long as it isn’t obstructive”.

He said that he hopes the situation can now be worked out, adding: “Everybody is doing their best to get things back on track again”.

As chairman of the council, Millea said he supports the bridge, noting it is part of the Kilkenny Central Access Scheme (CAS), which will include the construction of a ring road.

He said that the ring road might take years to build, but that “you have to make a start” and this is the Kilkenny bridge.

CAS review

Councillors will meet again on the issue on 1 September, having agreed to undertake a review of the CAS.

The building of the bridge is being objected to by some locals who believe it would bring more traffic into the centre of the medieval city.

Some are calling for the funding that would be used on the bridge to instead be used to finish a ring road.

Some people opposed to the bridge have made their feelings known under the #savekilkenny hashtag on Twitter.

Read: Protesters in canoe stop construction of Kilkenny bridge>

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