Escalating Cost of Innisrush Foot Bridge
The foot bridge at Innisrush was built around 1900 or shortly there after.
Looking at old newspapers, the small bridge was first proposed at a Magherafelt Rural District Council meeting held at the town’s courthouse on Friday 28th July 1899.
The new work proposed, was that of a foot bridge over the Clady River at Innisrush on “the road leading between Portglenone and Maghera, to be erected according to specification, at a sum not exceeding 50 pounds.”
However there were no tenders lodged for the project, and the proposal fell through.
The project was raised again, some six months later, when the same Magherafelt Rural District Council held their Quarterly Meeting on 4th January 1900. The 11.30am meeting at the Courthouse was presided over by the Chairman of the Council, Mr. Charles Convery, J.P.
The councillors present included: Messrs. Thomas Daly, J.P., Alexander Burnett, Hugh Hagan, John Convery, Teady McErlean, Thomas P. Henry, William John Hanna, Samuel Black, Benjamin Miller, Patrick Bradley, Michael Morgan, William Barefoot, Peter Rogers, Thomas Graham, Samuel Anderson, Walter James Bowman, Robert Bell, Thomas Carleton, James Breen, Patrick Gormley, John Park, William Ekin, John McKeefry junior, John Friel, Andrew Brown, James Hutchinson, Bernard Clerkin, John Conway, William Anderson, Smylie Robson, Andrew Diamond, William J. Brown, James E. O’Neill, Louis Smyth, George Mullan, James Shivers, Felix Ferran, J.P., and Colonel Sir Wm. Lenox-Conyngham, K.C.B.
Also in attendance were: Messrs. Patrick McNulty, James McFarland and William Duffield (Assistant Surveyors); William Hastings (Clerk to the Council); William Maitland (Assistant Clerk). Jos. I. Donaghy, and Samuel Brown (solicitors), were also in attendance, as well as a good number of contractors and the general public.
The County Surveyor’s Report was read to the council chamber and stated, “For the bridge at Innisrush, I have made as cheap a structure as is possible, commensurate with stability and safety. The cost will be about £200.” The council approved the Surveyor’s report.
It was formally proposed, by Councillor Teady McErlean, to construct a footbridge over the Clady river at Innisrush, on Mr. Wilson’s third-class contract from Kilrea to the road leading from Portglenone to Maghera, in the townlands of Moneystaghan Ellis and Innisrush, at a cost of £250.
In proposing the above, he went on to argue that the foot bridge was necessary, and that the only issue was the cost to build it. The District Council however felt that the 250 pounds that Mr McErlean suggested was too much. The councillor supposed the Council should allow the people to walk through the water. If the Council thought that they could build it for less then he said that he would be very glad.
The Council Chairman responded by saying that the County Surveyor had previously said that £100 would be enough.
Mr. O’Neill said he knew the place well, but he voted against the bridge being put up.
Mr. Walter Bell backed the Chairman, saying: “At the last meeting of this Council it was evident that £100 would be quite sufficient for doing it, and it is now intimated to us that £100 is not sufficient. I think it is necessary, and, therefore, I propose that it be put up at a cost not exceeding £200.”
Mr. Convery, the Chairman, seconded Mr. Bell’s proposition.
Mr. McFarland said that he thought the bridge was necessary.
Mr. Gormley proposed as an amendment that the matter be adjourned for six months. Mr. O’Neill seconded this motion.
Mr. Louis Smyth countered, saying: “When this came up before the Council on a former occasion, they came to the conclusion that the bridge was necessary, as it leads both to churches and schools. I think Messrs. Bell and Conway have come to a good conclusion, and I support their motion.”
A vote was then taken, when the amendment was carried by 27 to 16.
And that is the last record of the foot bridge, that I have discovered so far, in recorded council meetings. I imagine it was built in 1900 or very soon afterwards. The earliest photograph of the bridge, in my records, is from the 1920s.
Any Other Business – By the way, at the same meeting, the County Surveyor promoted the following repairs from 15th day of February, 1900, to the 20th June, 1900 – 947 perches of road from Portglenone to Kilrea, between the cross-roads, north of Clady Bridge and the district boundary in Tyanee by Luke’s Hill, with branch in Tyanee by Diamond’s Hill, to the cross-roads on the main Portglenone and Kilrea road, in the townland of Tyanee, at a probable expenditure of 31 pounds 11 shillings and 4d. The plan was passed.
“I have also made recommendations…. for the repair of a road in the townland of Tyanee, not tendered for at the last meeting.”