O’Keeffe flexes “mussel” to stop work on new bridge in Kilkenny

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

All work has been suspended on the construction of a new bridge over the River Nore in Kilkenny city after a local student went to the High Court and was granted an interim injunction.

All work has been suspended on the construction of a new bridge over the River Nore in Kilkenny city after a local student went to the High Court and was granted an interim injunction.

Work on the bridge has been plagued by controversy and there was a summer long picket at the main entrance to the work site at Green’s Bridge.

Now, work has stopped again after it was claimed that the work at the bridge, part of the Central Access Scheme (CAS), is causing very severe and possibly irreversible environmental damage.

The order was secured by Christopher O’Keeffe, from the Freshford Road in the city and will remain in force until next Wednesday when the County council will have an opportunity to put their side of things.

O’Keeffe claims Kilkenny County Council has breached planning consents while constructing Green’s Bridge and at a new footbridge downstream (which is already built) on the River Nore.

The court heard the river is a special area of conservation and the only habitat in the world where you will find the hard water pearl mussel.

Ms Justice Marie Baker has agreed to put a temporary stop to both construction projects on environmental grounds.

She said she was particularly impressed by the evidence of an ecologist that this was the most serious incident of environmental pollution that she had ever seen in an area of conservation. The local authority has not had its say yet, but it will be put on notice of the order and have a right of reply when the case returns to court next week.