50 people attend meeting demanding repair of Meelick footbridge

Thursday, 5 July 2018

There was a huge attendance of over 50 locals in Meelick last week demanding the immediate repair of the once popular walkway over the Shannon beside Meelick Weir.
Local farmer Charlie Killeen said he was delighted with the big turnout and it shows how deeply valued this walkway is by a lot of people in the locality.
Local politicians also attended, including Deputy Anne Rabbitte, Cllrs Donal Burke, Jimmy McClearn and Aidan Donohue, as did a number of local fishermen.
"The group is calling on Waterways Ireland to fulfill its commitment to complete the works in 2018 as promised," said Charlie. "The group is hoping to arrange a meeting with Minister Moran. Councillor Donohue has pledged to assist us in getting this meeting with the Minister."
The walkway at Meelick Weir was damaged during a flood in 2009. Locals have been lobbying ever since then to have it restored, and they say they have been given numerous promises but nothing has ever been done.
The walkway was in a strategic position and linked Lusmagh with Meelick. It was often used by tourists who enjoyed the beauty of the area and walking to Victoria Lock and the Old Lock (the Old Lock was built in the 1700s). The walkway was quite basic for many years, but it was made safer and therefore easier for pedestrians to cross in 2005. Charlie says that unfortunately the wrong material was used during this safety work. "When the silt built up around the bridge and the floods came the bridge wasn't able to cope and it collapsed. If better material had been used it could have survived."
He added that Waterways Ireland said last year it was going to spend 150,000 on restoring the bridge in 2018 "but a few months ago we were told that the money had been spent elsewhere."
Charlie is Chairman of the walkway restoration committee and John Downey, Principal of Lusmagh National School, is also on the committee. "We have been campaigning for several years," commented Charlie, "and finally, last year, we got a letter from Waterways Ireland stating that we were going to get funds, but unfortunately it wasn't to be."
They are now hoping that Minister Kevin "Boxer" Moran will listen to them and take action.


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