Clare County Council has made it clear that the local authority is unlikely to be in a position to afford to contribute to the projected €1.75m cost of building a 117m pedestrian glass suspension bridge from the Kilkee mainland to Bishop’s Island in the resort’s West End.
At the December meeting of The West Clare Economic Taskforce, Kilkee architect Tom Byrne unveiled plans to build the bridge.
At this week’s Kilrush Electoral Area meeting, attended by West Clare county councillors, Councillor PJ Kelly expressed dismay with the council executives’ reply to his request that the project be promoted by the local authority in conjunction with other promotional agencies.
“One of the key challenges facing Clare County Council is the ability to avail of funding opportunities, especially where there is a matching funding requirement,” director of services Ger Dollard said in part of his written reply to the motion.
“This is especially challenging given the reduced levels of funding available to local authorities to invest in product development, marketing and promotion,” Mr Dollard added.
“We need matching funds,” Councillor Kelly retorted. Describing the reply as “an excuse for doing nothing”, Councillor Kelly claimed that the project “has caught the imagination of an awful lot of people”.
He also claimed “there is a certain part of this county over-endowed when it comes to tourism”.
On Wednesday, Kilkee councillor Pat Keane clarified remarks he made at the meeting, which suggested that a tourism action plan for Kilkee should be a 10-year project. At the meeting, Councillor Kelly said that Councillor Keane was implying that it would take a decade to complete the Bishop’s Island project.
“What I was saying was we should identify all areas that have potential for development and draw up a plan and time scale for their development over a 10-year period,” Councillor Keane told The Clare Champion on Wednesday.
However, Councillor Kelly remained steadfast in his view that Clare County Council was not supportive of the idea.
“Until convinced otherwise, I’m certain that it’s very much down the priority list,” he maintained at Tuesday’s meeting.