A POTENTIAL death-trap for school children will not be fixed during their summer holidays, it has been revealed.
Despite pleas from a school principal in north Cork, hundreds of his pupils will still have to walk the gauntlet on a protected bridge that has walls so low one of them could easily topple over into the river below.
Last month Seamus Buckley, principal of Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk, made a passionate plea to Cork County Council to rectify the situation.
He said the roadway and footpath on a bridge near his school had been raised so much that the protecting wall was now dangerously low and he was fearful it was an accident waiting to happen, especially as 300 of his students use the narrow footpath to cross it twice a day.
Mr Buckley said the school’s parents’ council would be prepared to foot a €3,500 bill to put up safety railings.
It also emerged that rural development organisation, IRD Duhallow, had offered €30,000 to rectify the problem.
However, while council officials said they wanted to find a speedy solution, they claim they can’t do any work at present because the old bridge is listed as a protected structure and a national monument.
Officials say they need permission for any works from state-appointed conservationists and archaeologists and this will take time.
Officials said the installation of a railing could be a potential solution, or they might raise the parapet wall.
But despite several public representatives urging them to undertake the work during the summer break, officials said that was impossible because of the structure’s designation.
“We don’t need any more reports, we need action now,” Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) told fellow councillors at a meeting in Mallow.
Cllrs Tim Collins (Ind) and Ronan Sheehan (Lab) echoed his call, while Cllr Michael Donegan (FF) said that the council should build a new footbridge adjacent to the existing one.
“It’s a protected structure and a national monument. We have to go through procedure and we are doing this as quickly as we can. The most simple solution would be to put railings on footpath, but we have to get a conservation officer to look at that,” acting assistant county manager Tom Stritch said.
“Realistically no work will happen during the school holidays,” he added.
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