Councillors dismayed with name of new Kilkenny to New Ross bridge

War of words as one Kilkenny councillor votes for New Ross suggestion

Kilkenny People


Kilkenny People



New Ross bypass works at Pink Rock in Kilkenny PICTURE: PAT MOORE

A number of Kilkenny councillors have expressed their disappointment with the name given to new bridge crossing the River Barrow from Kilkenny to New Ross, as part of the bypass.

The bridge will be officially named ‘The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge’, after the socialite, philanthropist and matriarch of the Kennedy family. At a recent joint meeting between New Ross and Piltown Municipal District councillors, that name was chosen in a 8-6 vote.

Five of the six Piltown councillors and one New Ross councillor voted for the alternative name ‘The Pink Rock Bridge’. The remaining Piltown councillor, Melissa O’ Neill, sided with seven of her New Ross counterparts, however.

The matter turned into a war of words on Monday, when Cllr Fidelis Doherty said that Cllr O’ Neill had ‘voted against [her] own’ on the matter.

The discussion arose when Cllr Pat Dunphy said the decision that was made ‘wasn’t made on public submissions, because if it was, it would be ‘The Pink Rock Bridge’.

Cllr Doherty then expressed her disappointment with the chosen name. She said that in the public submissions, 51 people had called for ‘Pink Rock Bridge’, while 28 wanted ‘Rose F Kennedy Bridge’.

Cllr Doherty said that five Kilkenny councillors voted to support the wishes of their electorate, but one did not.

“It wasn’t what the electorate wanted,” she said.

“Unfortunately, one of our own voted against us.”

Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh questioned the late Ms Kennedy’s relevance to the area, and wondered if the name would strike a chord with anyone crossing the bridge.

“I’ve no memory of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy coming to here - Kilkenny or Wexford, or Ireland. Did she?” she asked.

Director of services Tim Butler said that the council had its own infrastructure naming policy, and that naming infrastructure was not a ‘popularity contest’, and it was not always the name that had the most ‘votes’ that was chosen. He said other factors were taken into account.

Mr Butler added that Wexford was the lead authority in this particular case. Both councils had nominated particular names, and a general vote was held by the two municipal districts.

“It wouldn’t be totally within our remit as it spans both counties, and Wexford is the lead authority,” Mr Butler said.