War of words erupts over Donegal border bridge

Councillors clash over the future of Lennox's Bridge

Declan Magee


Declan Magee


War of Words

Lennox's Bridge between Bundoran and Kinlough.

A war of words has broken out between two councillors on either side of the Donegal and Leitrim border over the future of a bridge between the two counties.
A suggestion from a councillor in Donegal that traffic lights should be installed on Lennox's Bridge between Kinlough and Bundoran has been criticised by a Leitrim councillor.
Ballyshannon councillor Barry O’Neill made the suggestion of the lights at a council meeting in Donegal in January. Donegal County Council said it would liaise with Leitrim County Council regarding the request to install traffic lights on the bridge.
But that suggestion was heavily criticised at a council meeting in Leitrim last month. At a Municipal District meeting in Manorhamilton, Cllr Justin Warnock said he was disappointed at the lack of funding for works on Lennox's Bridge.
“This (bridge) has a stranglehold on Kinlough development,” he told the meeting. “Everything we do (as a Kinlough community) involves going into south Donegal.
“Our children go to secondary school there, we shop there and yet, despite this, we are being treated very, very badly by Donegal County Council in relation to this.”
But Cllr O’Neill has hit back saying his motion was calling for collaboration between the two councils over the bridge. He said the traffic lights are only a temporary solution as a replacement bridge will take years to achieve.
“No one has anything against a new bridge. The traffic lights are just to address the issues at the current bridge. Can’t we just not work collaboratively such as what has been done at the Four Masters bridge?"
He said the Leitrim county development plan sets out that the replacement of the bridge is a long-term objective. “He (Cllr Warnock) is blaming Donegal county councillors when it is not even on a short-term capital programme in Leitrim. We are looking for collaboration.”
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat Cllr Warnock said Leitrim County Council has been to the fore in trying to progress the bridge.
He said Leitrim County Council made an application for funding for the bridge last year but Donegal County Council did not.
“They don’t see it as a priority, but it is a priority for us,” he said.
“Everything we do is based in south Donegal. Bundoran and Ballyshannon are doing well from the people of Leitrim and the spend from those who travel that road every day.”
The bridge over the Drowes river, which was built in 1700, has been described by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as one of the more important structures of its type in the north-west part of Ireland and as “a valuable addition to both the built heritage and extensive transport heritage of County Donegal”.