Campaigners hope public finances will scupper bridge

a group of campaigners against the central access scheme have vowed to continue working in opposition to the planned new road despite an An Bord Pleanala ruling granting permission to the planned scheme.

a group of campaigners against the central access scheme have vowed to continue working in opposition to the planned new road despite an An Bord Pleanala ruling granting permission to the planned scheme.

Mick Greene a local community activist said “The ruling of An Bord Pleanála last week was a watershed moment in our campaign against the Central Access Scheme. While we are bitterly disappointed, we can take some minor victories from the campaign as the Breagagh Valley area has been protected by the decision and a more appropriate, sensitive bridge design was mandated. However, this is not the end of the campaign. While I don’t foresee any of the community groups we worked with on this campaign having the financial fire-power to force a judicial review of the decision, the weakness in the public finances may actually be the final decision maker on this project. The majority of the proposed €10 million cost of the bridge will need to come from the coffers of Kilkenny County Council. I believe that there will be a huge public backlash if there is a realisation that such a large capital project is being put on the table at a time when local services are under such strain.”

Mr. Greene spoke at the Oral Hearing regarding the Central Access Scheme in 2008 during which he argued that all other traffic management alternatives should be explored before the construction of such an invasive piece of infrastructure should commence. “I firmly believe that our top priority should be the completion of the Outer Ring Road to the north of the City. Secondly, the main cause of traffic congestion in Kilkenny is the volume of single occupancy vehicles going through our city during the morning and evening peak times. There are various, low-cost measures that can be employed so that we can get more people travelling per vehicle or even out of the car altogether. I don’t believe that a similar return on investment of public money is possible by the construction of the new bridge”.