By Sean Moriarty and Michelle Crean
Mayor of Killarney Cllr Brendan Cronin will demand clarity from Kerry County Council management after just €30,000 was allocated for Listry Bridge in the latest round of regional and local roads maintenance allocations for 2021.
Cllr Cronin has been fighting for major improvements for this bridge for over 20 years. His late father PJ, also a councillor, spent the previous 20 years fighting the same cause.
The 200-year-old bridge, on the R563 which links Killarney to the Dingle Peninsula is deemed too narrow for current traffic volumes. It has been the scene of several accidents over the years and locals have been campaigning for decades to either have the bridge widened or have a new one constructed in its place.
On Monday, the Department of Transport announced €29 million worth of road improvement funding for county Kerry.
The €30,000 allocated to Listry bridge falls far short of the large scale investment the bridge needs, according to local man Brendan O’Shea.
By comparison Gortderrig Bridge near Shrone on the much quieter L3014 received €120,000 and the Dale Road between Abbeydorney and Ballyduff received €2.5 million.
“Our local and national representatives were falling over themselves to announce a €29 million investment in Kerry roads, of that, €30k is to be spent on Listry Bridge, the single lane death trap on the main Killarney to Dingle R563 that’s falling into the Gweestin River that flows under it, or around it on occasions of heavy rain,” Brendan O’Shea told the Killarney Advertiser.
“A few weeks ago a Milltown bypass was announced at a cost of €7m – will it stop at that? So, on one side of Milltown we’ll have a bypass that it appears no one wants and on the other side we’ll have a few shiny new warning signs for a bridge that locals have spent the last 40 years trying to get replaced.”
Cllr Cronin said it is going to keep the issue on the agenda and will bring it up again at the next full meeting between Kerry County Officials and elected members.
“Since I have been involved in Kerry County Council, and my late father before me, two roads have always been talked about; Listry Bridge and The Dale Road,” Cllr Cronin told the Killarney Advertiser. “This €30,000 won’t even put tarmac on the bridge. I am no engineer but I can assure you this road needs an investment of €2.5 million.”
He added that he “found out from the previous Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, that Kerry County Council did not even apply for previous funding”.
“And just over the road we see a new bypass for Milltown that nobody seems to want. This is a political game and I am not taking any more political prisoners until I find out what is going on here.”