|Pile driver at the CAS construction site in Kilkenny City|
There is something rotten in a country that pours concrete over its heritage. That is what we do in Ireland though. We did it to Wood Quay in the early 1980s and to the Tara Valley in 2007-10. Now Kilkenny City is the crosshairs of the concrete fusiliers. Instead of completing the construction of the existing ring road around the city, Kilkenny County Council wants to build a heavy-duty central access road with a large garish bridge right through the city's beautiful medieval heart. It's just another cynical, short-sighted, back-of-the-envelope half-measure that typifies infrastructure planning in Ireland.
Local people who oppose the Central Access Scheme (CAS) have been protesting day and night for the past two weeks in an effort to stop the construction of the bridge and to preserve the historical section of the city. The protesters had expected their standoff with the county council to reach its climax yesterday with the planned arrival of a heavy-duty pile driver at the construction site. Around fifty of them blocked the entrance to the site in order to keep this huge machine out.
|Gardaí clear the site entrance at 4 a.m.|
Some things are worth fighting for regardless of the final outcome. The anti-CAS campaign is one of them. If Ireland's county councillors had their way, they would probably cover the entire island with motorways, shopping centres, offices, apartment blocks and car parks. It is time we started to preserve what is beautiful about our country instead of destroying and "developing" it. Stopping the central access schemers from cutting through Kilkenny's heart would be the perfect first step.
To help stop the CAS, sign this online petition. For information and updates about the protest, visit the anti-CAS campaign page on Facebook.