The number of trucks and heavy vehicles passing through Leighlinbridge in Carlow are a concern for residents.
Leighlinbridge on the river Barrow in County Carlow is home to Leighlinbridge Castle, also known as the Black Castle, an early example of Norman castle construction in Ireland.
The nine arch bridge dates from the fourteenth century and has had a long history of facilitating transport and trade in this part of the country. On the main route from Kilkenny and Waterford to Dublin, this piece of mediaeval infrastructure cannot cope with twentieth century traffic which residents say is bringing the town to its knees.
A delegation of from Leighlinbridge organised by local Councillor Mary McDonald met recently with members of Carlow County Council to voice their concerns.
The buildings of Leighlinbridge are suffering from structural damage due to the volume of juggernauts passing through. The bridge which does not have a footpath and is barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other has been declared unsafe on many occasions by engineers.
It is an accident waiting to happen, as the bridge is the only route to and from Leighlinbridge's national school for a large number of children in the locality,
Every morning brings terror for mothers who bring their children to school.
The irony is that over forty years ago Carlow County Council placed a weight limit of eight tonnes on the bridge. Jack McNally who owned and operated a steamroller had to drive around the town to reach destinations on the other side of it. The information which was posted publicly on the bridge itself stated that,
Any person using this bridge with a weight over eight tonnes does so at their own risk.
At the Carlow County Council meeting, the Leighlinbridge delegation outline their demands which include safety precautions for the village, a consultation process with local people for the route of a new bridge, preservation of the old bridge, and announcement from the Council regarding their plan of action.
County Engineer Michael O'Malley who agreed with the statements made by the Leighlinbridge representatives promised to investigate the re-routing of traffic away from the village through Muine Bheag or Graiguecullen.
The meeting while heated and emotional at times was constructive says Councillor Mary McDonald, who is confident that thanks to the people of Leighlinbridge immediate action will now be taken on the issue, but
This thing has been talked about...for forty years and today...it's taken a step in the right direction.
A 'Newsround' report broadcast on 30 May 1976. The reporter is Brendan O’Brien.