Irish Examiner View: Bridge building - Progress made, past marked

Irish Examiner View: Bridge building - Progress made, past marked
At the opening ceremony of the N25 New Ross Bypass and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge are Leo Varadkar and Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend. Pic: PJ Browne

It is not necessary to be as sharp as PJ Mara was to imagine an election planner agreeing a date for the ribbon-cutting at this week’s opening of Ireland’s longest road span bridge.

It was a golden photo opportunity. That Taoiseach Leo Varadkar — a son of an immigrant — would cross the bridge with a scion of Irish American royalty, Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend, after whose great-grandmother the bridge is named, meant the opportunity was at least underlined in red.

Nevertheless, the event should be a moment of celebration for the region.

The opening of the River Barrow crossing is an achievment of commendable order in a country struggling to deliver too many major projects. The bridge also serves another purpose, one that resonates across Ireland.

By remembering Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy it reminds of us all of our distant immigrant cousins and of the potential lost in that exodus.

It knocks loudly on the door of a country struggling to be as generous to immigrants as America was to the first Kennedys who fled New Ross and their contemporaries.

Real, life changing bridge building in action.

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