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Council baffled on how to repair Boyne Viaduct lights going forward

The Boyne Viaduct in Drogheda
The Boyne Viaduct in Drogheda. Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons License.

Louth County Council say they don’t know how they will be able to fix and replace the lights that illuminate the Boyne Viaduct in the town – because they’re too high.

There had been some confusion about whether the local authority or Iarnrod Eireann were responsible for the fixing the lights on the historic structure that stands above the River Boyne and looks over the town.

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The issue was first raised at the February meeting of the Drogheda Borough Council meeting, where Independent councillor Paddy McQuillan told the council that the lights were their responsibility, not that of Irish Rail.

Having received correspondence on the matter, Cllr McQuillan reiterated the point on Monday during the September meeting of the council and queried how the all lights could be replaced or fixed with a view to having the viaduct fully illuminated once more.

“We are indeed the custodians of the lights on the viaduct. Irish Rail have generously agreed to fix and replace the lights that are currently out of action,” he said. “Have we contacted Irish Rail with a timeframe on this so that the structure is illuminated to its fullest?

Senior Enginner Mark Johnston told the meeting that the council were unaware when the repairs would take place but said after his occasion the onus would be on the local authority to replace or fix the lights.

“That will be a real headache for us because they’re so high up. You’d really want be to up at track level. It would take a huge cherry picker to do. They’re only doing it now as a courtesy,” he said. He said that it would be “unusual” for Irish Rail to allow council contractors onto the track to carry out such works.

The Boyne Viaduct was designed by Dundalk native Sir John McNeill and completed in 1855. It is part of the main Dublin-Belfast railway line.

The council had initially collaborated with Iarnród Éireann, to provide the state-of the-art-lighting system for the Boyne Viaduct. The new system can be utilised to incorporate the historic structure in special occasions and tourist initiatives in the town, while the colour of the ambient lighting can be changed to suit the event calendar, so that the bridge can be illuminated in green to mark St Patrick’s Day, for instance.

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