€70,000 paint job is a bridge too far for Limerick councillor

Section of the Railway Bridge at Childers Road

LIMERICK City councillor Sarah Kiely is seeing red over a quote of €70,000 to have the Railway Bridge at Childers Road painted to remove graffiti.

Since the issue was raised at last month’s Metropolitan District meeting, Cllr Kiely told the Limerick Post that she has been contacted by a number of companies who would like to tender for the job at “far more competitive” prices.

“I honestly feel if this was in a more affluent part of the city it would have been cleaned up long ago. Why should people in our area be treated any different from other areas?” the City East Fine Gael representative asked.

“I have been working on this issue for two years on this stage. I was given a commitment regarding the Railway Bridge at Childers Road which is covered in graffiti. I was over and back for ages with Irish Rail and the Council, eventually I got a confirmation that there is a long standing agreement with Irish Rail that the local authority will maintain the bridge.

“This, apparently, is in place from the early 1980s. I’m so annoyed that the original quote was €40,000 and now that has risen to €70,000, and this is to be paid for by the Council,” she claimed.

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Cllr Kiely has asked the Director of the Metropolitan District, Kieran Lehane to liaise with CEO of Irish Rail, Jim Meade, to get this arrangement off the Council’s books as a matter of urgency.

“We want to put our best foot forward and make sure we get a fair share. I’m not giving up on this. We deserve better and I will keep pushing until we get this sorted at a fair cost to the taxpayer.

“I’m fuming about this, it is not okay that public money will possibly be spent on this and Irish Rail get off Scot-free.

“They have large profits. They need to step up and look after their infrastructure. It is not okay to spend Council money on Irish Rail property,” she insisted.

In response, Limerick City and County Council said that it has maintenance obligations in respect of the Railway over-bridge at Childers Road.

“These obligations originate from the need to construct the bridge as part of the Council’s construction of Childers Road in the early 1980s,” a spokesperson explained.

“The immediate priority as raised relates to the removal of the unsightly graffiti. However, in addressing this issue we must also consider our responsibility relating to preventative maintenance in respect of the protective paint coating. It is in this context that we sought indicative costings for the works. We must also consider the sustainability of any remedial works and measures to mitigate against recurrence.

“Having considered the costs indicated we are again reviewing the options available to us and are consulting with Irish Rail on possible solutions. It should be noted that any maintenance works of significance on the bridge impact the intercity rail-line and must be approved and overseen by Irish Rail as well as involving considerable traffic management measures which naturally impact costs.”