A campaign group which has called for a footbridge to be erected at Cockhil Bridge has called the plans to install traffic lights at the junction a “stab in the back.”
On Monday, Inishowen county councillors announced at their Inishowen Municipal District meeting that the intend to install the lights at the junction in a bid to “address immediate safety concerns.”
They added they are also to seek a deputation to the Minister for Transport in order to request the three million euro in funding needed to construct a new bridge.
In response, the Cockhill Bridge Action Group said the decision was a “stab in
the back for the local community who have been campaigning for years for a pedestrian footbridge.”
A spokesperson told how group representatives met with the council on Monday morning to “push for a footbridge as the most reliable, economic and permanent solution to the safety issues at Cockhill.”
A spokesperson said: “During the hour long meeting with the council, Cockhill Bridge Action Group representatives went to great lengths to oppose the use of traffic lights as they would lead to more safety issues on the bridge and create major traffic mayhem and could prove to be more expensive in the long run.”
They added: “In response, the councillors expressed their outrage at our media and poster campaigns and close examination of the money trail in relation to development levies on new homes in the area. At one point in the discussion, when presented with a copy of the planning Schedule, (Councillor) Rena Donaghey said that the 40,000 euro in question never existed. How do you think we felt on Tuesday morning when we read in the media that 89,000 euro was reported to have been raised?”
The group said “serious questions” remain to be answered in relation to the various moneys raised and “the councillors are unable or unwilling to show how the money was spent.”
They said: “If part of the money never existed, it begs the question in relation to the operation of development levies and planning approval. Opting for temporary traffic lights is more about the councillors saving face and preventing any possible
litigation as a result of a traffic accident rather than a genuine desire to solve the road safety issue. Councillor Nicholas Crossan asked that we should all obhair le ceile (work together) on this project. How could this be so when he had not got the courtesy to convey the decision of the council to us, as he promised he would and remains uncontactable by our members? The most notable reaction from the councillors came when we questioned their handling of public money. Have the public not got the right to know?”
The group vowed to continue their campaign for a pedestrian footbridge for Cockhill.