Cllr Niamh Kennedy leads bridge deputation to Min. Shane Ross
There are hopes of progress on the Fintra Bridge saga this week as Independent Councillor, Niamh Kennedy, led a deputation from Donegal County Council to discuss the possibility of funding for an upgrade.
The meeting, in the office of Minister for Transport, Shane Ross TD, was chaired by Cllr Kennedy who is Chair of the Donegal Municipal District. Cllr Kennedy said afterwards: "This was a very successful meeting and we are grateful to Minister Ross and his officials for making the time to meet us in spite of the other pressures on his Department."
The case was made for a €2m replacemenmt crossing, rather than repairing the existing structure. The deputation outlined the pressure the bridge is under from increased tourism traffic to Sliabh Liag along with the needs of industry in the area and, especially, the problems that would arise in the event of a major emergency in the area.
Cllr Kennedy said: "Fintra bridge is a critical link for the people in the Kilcar, Carrick and Glencolmcille areas. The pressure on this ancient bridge is increasing every day in light of the increased traffic on the R263 as part of the Wild Atlantic Way."
She added: "This issue cannot be allowed to continue unresolved", she said. "If Fintra Bridge is damaged or blocked, there is no other road access to Fintra, Kilcar, Carrick and Glencolmcille except by way of Glengesh; a detour of several miles.
"In the event of a fire or other emergency, the time lost could be catastrophic and, of course, then everyone would be focused and, no doubt, a solution would be found. I don't want to wait until something dreadful happens.
"The need is urgent. A way must be found. I am confident and determined that major progress will be made and sooner, rather than later", Cllr Kennedy said.
The deputation to Minister Ross consisted of Cllr Kennedy, Cllr Tom Conaghan, Cllr Noel Jordan and Cllr John Campbell, along with Donegal County Council officials, Mr John McLaughlin, Director of Roads and Transportation, and Mr Mark Sweeney, Area Manager for the Donegal Municipal District.
As well as the case for upgrading Fintra Bridge, the Minister also heard submissions for improvement works at the Tyrconnell Bridge, Donegal Town.