Controversial Limerick footbridge will be "dead" if plans are rejected

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh

Controversial Limerick footbridge will be "dead" if plans are rejected

Kieran Reeves, senior executive planner, Limerick City and County Council, at the Limerick Footbridge briefing at City Hall

ELECTED representatives will be asked to approve of the proposed controversial footbridge project at a meeting next month.

However, according to senior Limerick City and County Council officials, if councillors do not give consent to footbridge “the project is dead”.

On Thursday, council economic director, Pat Daly spearheaded numerous briefings on the project for councillors and the media, alongside senior planners, Kieran Reeves and Liam Conneally.

Throughout the briefings, the council presented three preliminary proposals for the project, ranging in costs between €8.1m and €17.1m. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has ringfenced €6m for the project, which will be complemented by matched funding by an anonymous philanthropic source.

Mr Daly said, because the funding has been offered, there is a “sense of immediacy” to bring the plans forward. When asked what would happen if the councillors reject the plans at a meeting on July 18, he replied:

“If they reject it, the project is dead and the money is lost. Simple fact.”

He added that the briefings with the politicians were “positive. We have had good feedback and looked at a number of issues, and we will go back then with a formal presentation in answering those remaining questions and then seeking consent on the day.

“We want people to experience the river, and just to cross it. If you look at the traditional bridges, they are kind of vehicular and less pedestrian. We want to change that a little bit. This is a reimagining of the city.”

Mr Reeves compared the project to the £14m Derry Peace Bridge and the £22m Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

He said that the footbridge is part of the Limerick 2030 economic development plan, and that the Shannon and the riverway were seen as “integral parts” of the city.

Mr Conneally said there will be public consultation before the appointment of designer and during the planning process.