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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 16 November, 2019
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The Celtic Tiger bridge that wouldn't open because of a lost remote control

The Sean O’Casey Bridge is operated via remote control – but officials apparently lost the device in an office move. It’s now operational again…

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at the Sean O'Casey Bridge in 2007.
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at the Sean O'Casey Bridge in 2007.
Image: Photocall Ireland

DUBLIN’S SÉAN O’CASEY Bridge, which has been unable to open to shipping for the past four years, was finally re-opened in the past few weeks after experts created a new remote control for the structure.

Commissioned in 2002 by the ill-fated Dublin Docklands Development Authority, the footbridge was constructed to improve pedestrian connections in the city during a time of rapid expansion.

Spanning the Liffey between the IFSC and City Quay, it’s designed to swing apart to allow sail-craft upriver as far as the Talbot Memorial Bridge.

The design includes two 44-metre-long arms, capable of swinging open when required. That operation is controlled by a hand-held remote device — but, as TheJournal.ie reported last year — that device went missing some years ago, meaning openings were no longer possible.

The Authority — which is set to be wound-up in the coming months — moved offices several times in the past few years, and it’s understood the remote (which is about the size of a 1990s-era mobile phone) may have been simply misplaced in the move.

The Sean O’Casey Bridge [Dublin City Council]

Speaking to this website, Financial Advisor to the Authority John Crawley — who was appointed to oversee the wind-up process — confirmed that it was once again possible to open the structure to shipping, following an engineering review. A lack of funding meant the process couldn’t happen until recently, he said.

As part of the overhaul, work has been carried out on the bridge itself, and contractors were tasked with “reprogramming an opening device,” Crawley said.

“Its not like a Sky box remote control.”

You have to make sure that it’s a secure system, so there are layers of security.

An Irish-based firm carried out the reprogramming, and that aspect of the work cost around €1,800, Crawley said.

Engineering work is still continuing, and after further test-work later this month it’s expected the bridge will be fully functional once again.

The DDDA wind-up

Former Environment Minister Phil Hogan announced the wind-up of the DDDA in 2012, following the publication of a damning report by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

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

The Dublin 4 site was sold to a consortium that included the DDDA in at the height of the property boom in 2006 for €431 million. In the wake of the crash, it was revalued as being worth some €45 million and taken into the control of Nama.

The hand-over

Dublin City Council will officially take over control of the Authority’s functions once legislation enacting that transition goes through the Oireachtas. That’s expected to happen by Easter at the latest.

The Council is set to take over operational responsibility for the Sean O’Casey Bridge after the current works programme is complete.

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

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

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About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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