Safety concerns at Cockhill Bridge a “priority”

One of the protestors directs a sign towards vehicles during Saturday's protest at Cockhill Bridge. DER4214MC075
One of the protestors directs a sign towards vehicles during Saturday's protest at Cockhill Bridge. DER4214MC075

Inishowen’s TDs have refuted suggestions there is “no political will” for the erection of a footbridge or new bridge at Cockhill.

In a statement released following Saturday’s protest at the bridge, Cockhill Bridge Action Group questioned why Deputy Charlie McConalogue attended the meeting but did not address the protesters.

They also asked why Deputy Joe McHugh did not attend - claiming he said the issue was one for Donegal County Council - and said that Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn gave written assurances in 2008 that development monies would be used to fund a new bridge.

In response, Deputy McHugh said he met with the group last Monday. as he wasn’t able to attend on Saturday. He said the meeting was “productive,” adding: “I think we are all in agreement that the safety concerns regarding the bridge and those who use it are the priority.”

He confirmed that following the meeting, he had met with the Minister for Transport and Tourism to highlight the matter.

He added that as “soon as agreement” is made at a local level, the Department would be in a position to help progress the project and he would work with them and Donegal County Council “in ensuring that progress is made.”

Deputy MacLochlainn highlighted how he has previously stated on record there was a previous “collective failure” by elected representatives to solve the issue of Cockhill Bridge.

“I share my responsibility,” he said, adding that in 2008, 70,000 euro was secured from a developer for a new footbridge.

Deputy McLochlainn said “every councillor thought it was going to happen” and meetings took place “back and forth” with Council engineers, before traffic lights were suggested and rejected.

He said it was now a time for “looking forwards” and once again called for all TDs and councillors to work together on the issue.

Deputy McConalogue told the ‘Journal’ he did not speak at the protest as he had to leave early to attend a Fianna Fail function in Dublin. He said he had delayed his trip to Dublin to attend the protest and said he would also work on the issue of Cockhill Bridge.

Spokesperson for the action group, John O’Keeffe told the Journal they were “non-political” and “the issue is solely about road safety.” He called upon the nine county councillors to “vote with their conscience and ensure a footbridge is erected” at Cockhill. “No more excuses,” he said.