The Black Bridge at Plassey has long had a place in the hearts of Limerick people. It was damaged in the floods of 2009 and has been closed to the public ever since. Limerick Council says it can’t afford to repair it. Limerick Council is, as far as I can see, in breach of the terms of its lease of the bridge from the Department of Finance; the Department of Finance could, but has chosen not to, insist that the Council repair the bridge.
In the meantime, the Minister for Finance, for reasons best known to himself, wants a new, er, iconic footbridge in Limerick city and is prepared to spend €6 million of taxpayers’ money, via Fáilte Ireland, on a structure that can scarcely avoid blocking some of the finest views in the city.
Now, the Limerick Leader tells us, the ghastly edifice is to cost almost €18 million: €6 million from the Minister for Finance (who represents Limerick), €4 million to be borrowed and €7.8 million from the leprechauns’ pot of gold under the thorn bush. Or somewhere. Even Fianna Fáil councillors think this is insane, which is saying something.
This ridiculous proposal should be abandoned immediately and a much smaller sum should be spent instead on repairing the Black Bridge as part of a European Route of Industrial Heritage.
The Minister’s €6 million is a gift-horse that should not only have its teeth inspected: it should be taken out and shot and its carcass sent to the burger factory.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Charles Wye Williams, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Natural heritage, Non-waterway, Operations, People, Politics, Restoration and rebuilding, Scenery, Shannon, Sources, Steamers, The cattle trade, Tourism, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged Black Bridge, bridge, canal, Department of Finance, ERIH, floods, flow, Ireland, Killaloe, Limerick, Limerick city, Limerick Council, Limerick Leader, lost, Lough Derg, Minister for Finance, Operations, Plassey, Shannon, waterways, Waterways Ireland
I am repeating here a point I made in response to a comment on this page. I do so because the point is, I think, an important one: some readers don’t check the comments and might miss this.
I have an imperfect copy [with some lines missing] of an indenture made on 8 July 1949 between the Minister for Finance and Limerick County Council under which the Council leased from the Minister
… all that those parts of the lands of Garraun and Sreelane on which Plassey Bridge abuts on both banks of the River Shannon and the site and piles of said Plassey Bridge together with said Plassey Bridge […].
I am not a lawyer, so my interpretation may be misleading, but I think that there are two points of interest.
The first is that, under the indenture, the Council is obliged to “well and sufficiently repair cleanse maintain amend and keep the hereby demised premises”, which includes the bridge. The Council is also required to “use the said demised premises as a public highway”.
The second is that, if the Council fails to do so, the Minister, and his agents the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland, are entitled (after giving due notice) “to enter upon the hereby demised premises and to execute and to do the necessary repairs and works and the Lessees [ie Limerick Councy Council] shall repay the expenses of such repairs to the Lessor on demand […]“.
As far as I can see, Limerick County Council is in breach of its agreement with the Minister for Finance, and that Minister is entitled to repair the bridge and charge the Council for the cost.
If only there were a Minister for Finance who had an interest in Limerick (or in bridges) ….
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Charles Wye Williams, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Forgotten navigations, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Operations, People, Politics, Restoration and rebuilding, Safety, Scenery, Shannon, Sources, Steamers, The cattle trade, Tourism, waterways, Waterways management, Weather
Tagged Black Bridge, bridge, canal, Ireland, Limerick, Limerick County Council, lock, Minister for Finance, Operations, Plassey, Shannon, water level, waterways, Waterways Ireland