Who is responsible for financing the Fiddown toll bridge connecting the counties of Waterford and Kilkenny?
Fiddown train station is closed, but the bridge is used by up to 100 vehicles a day, and since 1948 the toll amounting to £360 annually, has been collected by Mrs Josephine Murray.
The bridge is currently maintained by Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), and the cost of maintaining the bridge is £1,000 per annum, with an additional £350 in annual out-goings. Maintaining the bridge is not economically viable for CIÉ and they believe as the bridge is a social service, it should be run by the Waterford and Kilkenny County Councils.
CIÉ Area Manager Kevin Daly explains how under the terms of an 1851 Act, the Waterford-Limerick Railway Company were obliged to construct and maintain a bridge to connect Fiddown Station with Portlaw. Later CIÉ inherited the bridge.
The Act has never been repealed and consequently we are obliged to maintain the Act and maintain the bridge and the situation is we are really stuck with the bridge.
Even though Fiddown train station is no longer operational CIÉ are in the farcical situation of having to maintain a bridge to serve a station that is closed.
Mr Daly considers the bridge to be an anachronism and an increase in toll charges to cover costs is not a reasonable solution. He believes the problem can only be solved when local authorities empowered by legislation take over the bridge.
A ‘Newsbeat’ report broadcast on 20 August 1967. The reporter is Bill O’Herlihy.