The 'iconic' blue bridge that was removed from James Fintan Lalor Avenue in Portlaoise a number of years ago should never have been taken down a Portlaoise councillor has said.
Cllr Noel Tuohy said he has waited five years to get it on the record that the removal of the bridge was a mistake and he considers it an 'act of vandalism' that it was taken down.
Cllr Tuohy said the bridge was an iconic part of Portlaoise and helped pedestrians, particularly those with visual impairments to cross the road safely.
He spoke at the April meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District meeting.
"I think the blue bridge being taken down was a terrible mistake it was an act of vandalism as far as I’m concerned. There was one guy who was visually impaired who used that every day of the week.
"If you pulled in to the Red Cow looking for a bus to Portlaoise, you got off at the blue bridge that was the sign it was an iconic thing whether you like it or didn’t like it, it should never have come down," he said.
Cllr Willie Aird said he was 'fighting on my own' to keep the bridge in place at the time.
Cllr Pauline Madigan agreed it was a shame it was taken out and said the blue bridge still exists in people's minds.
"The argument at the time was that people weren’t using it but it doesn't matter how many people were using it, it was such an absolute emblem that was associated with Portlaoise and to this day anyone that I meet in town I meet them under the blue bridge so philosophically to me the blue bridge still exists.
"What a shame that something as beautiful, beautiful in a broad sense of the word has been taken down I do think it was a shame," she said.
The councillors were speaking in relation to a request for a pedestrian crossing in Lyster Square beside the traffic lights on James Fintan Lalor Avenue. The area engineer said there is no funding for the pedestrian crossing.
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