Supporting Local News

Oughterard bridge debacle casts long shadow

It could be the eighth wonder of the world . . .  the shadow from a bridge that doesn’t exist over a river in Connemara.

The riddle dates back to over a decade ago when planning permission for a new footbridge over the Owenriff River at Oughterard was refused because of a potential shadow.

According to Cllr. Seamus Walsh (FF), the notion that a footbridge – 10 metres by 4 metres – could have an adverse ‘shadow effect’ on the pearl mussel species was ludicrous.

The Oughterard councillor told this week’s Connemara Area meeting that the NPWS objected to the bridge at the time ‘because of the shadow impact’ while at the same time allowing the whole river to be completely overgrown.

He said that the NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service) had allowed large stretches of the Owenriff River to be overgrown and overshadowed with trees and vegetation.

“The whole river is closing in and yet the NPWS are doing nothing about it – why are they allowing this to happen. And yet planning was refused for the new footbridge because of the shadow it might cause.

“If the NPWS gave ‘two hoots’ about the river, they wouldn’t allow this kind of complete overgrowth to occur.

“It’s a bit like the story of the dog in the manger saying I’m not eating the hay, but the ass can’t have it either . . . and we wonder why Sinn Féin are getting so popular,” said Cllr. Walsh.

He also told the Connacht Tribune that as a short-term measure back in 2018, he had suggested the putting in place of puffin lights (press a button to get the green light to cross the road) and the employment of a lollipop person during school road peak crossing times.

“If an elaborate traffic light system is put in place as proposed now by the Council – it will bring traffic to a standstill in Oughterard – and we’ll still have no footbridge,” said Cllr. Walsh.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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