Tallaght bridge to be restored after community backlash

by Kim O Leary
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By Kim O’Leary

South Dublin County Council has confirmed that the 200-year-old bridge that was removed at Whitestown Way in Tallaght during construction works will be reinstated.

Last month locals were outraged after the removal of the historic bridge at Whitestown Way on June 2 when residents noticed the removal of the arch and part of the wall.

The bridge is believed to be one of the last remaining bridges from pre 1843 in Tallaght and possibly the wider county area. The remains of the bridge are located on the site of a new 81-unit housing development between Tallaght Stadium and Sean Walsh Park on Whitestown Way.

An older person housing project is being developed by Clúid Housing Association in partnership with South Dublin County Council. When the development was being proposed, the remains of the bridge and calls for its protection were included in a number of submissions lodged during the public consultation.

The council noted in 2018 that the remaining structure is not recorded in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage or in its own Record of Protected Structures.

However, it was agreed that the structure would be incorporated into site works in the housing development.

In a statement, the South Dublin County Council said it was “cognisant of the need to remove, conserve and reinstate the structure as part of the construction programme on this basis.’

The council said it was not in a position to advice elected members of the specific times the works would take place as the council did not receive advance notice on the timing of the construction works.

“Clúid Housing have acknowledged that this should have been better managed as they also recognise the significance of the bridge to the local community.  This is in accordance with the plans submitted during the Part 8 planning process. Given the age of the structure it was agreed to dismantle and remove it off site for safekeeping,” they said.

According to the council, Clúid Housing has confirmed that the bridge material is being properly and securely stored on the contractor’s private compound off-site and will be reinstated as a feature on the site prior to completion in 2023.

Large sections of the brick arch are still intact and will facilitate the reinstatement, as none of the materials that were removed have been or will be disposed of.

Tallaght Community Council (TCC) have welcomed South Dublin County Council’s response to the issue but say that it intends to seek clarification concerning several other unanswered questions.

These further queries include what steps the council have taken to have the bridge listed for protection and perseveration as a known historic structure, when the council was made aware that the bridge was to be reconstructed and removed, whether or not elected officials were aware of the plans, did SDCC sign off on the final plans, and why there are now several large shipping containers on the site.

“Tallaght Community Centre believes it is not too late to prepare for future generations, this modest but important feature-one of the last remaining features of Tallaght’s built history and heritage,” said Albert Perris, voluntary heritage officer at TCC.

TCC is also requesting that the bridge be reinstated and that an expert be assigned to ensure the project meets the highest standards.

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