Are you not willfully breaking the law if you vote AGAINST the motion to stop work on the CAS bridge tomorrow? Or at very least guilty of upholding an illegal contract? Please be reminded that the last meeting (only 3 weeks ago, a majority voted for a review so keep focused that stopping the work will facilitate that review actually being done).
I also want to put your mind at rest about surcharges and public cost of stopping the CAS and returning the site to its natural state (although there will have to be new trees to replace the old ones (that you took the opportunity of the big storm and other fallen trees nearby, to cut down in just one of several shockingly ignorant moves). Because the contracts are conditional that means that if the conditions aren’t met, which they haven’t been, the contract is null and void without financial repercussions. One of the conditions we know about is that the bridge shouldn’t go ahead if there was not money guaranteed for the two roads to complete the CAS. There is not that money. It has been said that there is just the 10 million to build the bridge. (By the way, don’t even think of dipping into the 45 million the council received last year for the Ring Road, to finish the CAS project. You are under the scrutiny of too many informed citizens, honest councilors against the CAS and legal bodies to try anything like that. Secondly, the bridge should not go ahead if the houses on Vicar Street and on the proposed route on the Wolfetone St side were not agreed in advance. Some architect said that something has been signed off this week but under what duress was that signed off, or even was it? Or would such a signature so late in the day stand up in court? The condition that most people, possibly even you yourself, don’t know about was that, up until a couple of weeks before An Bord Pleanala agreed the CAS, there was a planning permission clause saying the Ring Road should be completed before CAS could go ahead. That clause was taken out. This is not the usual behavior of An Bord Pleana to take out conditions. There is courruption at every level of this agreement and now it has become explicit, I encourage you to stand up for transparency.
It is also not usual for the EPA to overlook continual water contamination, bad practices and ignorance of environmental impact. Or for there to be such discrepancy as to whether a house has medieval value or not. The Heritage Council and Planning Office, are all allowing breach after breach of human rights, democracy and environmental management. One day alone, there were 40 reports of serious health and safety risks.
Even the gardai are working as security guards for you. On one video I heard a campaigner say, ' (get your knee out of my back’. This whole project was so embarrassing to local gardai that Wexford gardai were called in. This was only because Kilkenny ones were uncomfortable manhandling their neighbors perhaps. At the beginning of the process, the guards were saying, yes you the protesters, the public, have a right to be here (on Greens Bridge, the Peace Park and the pavement at the Vicar Street entrance). They said, if they are asked to escort (!) machinery in to the site, protestors might be moved away from the entrance. They said no one will be arrested, cautioned or charged, they only wanted to facilitate the contractor (which is surely inappropriate in itself). However, here in week 7, people have been arrested, a man with crutches deliberately pushed over, a man dragged into a car, a woman kneed repeatedly in the back (which as I say is on camera) plus countless other words, aggressive behavior, lies told and peaceful agreements (like the stand aside for twice a day deliveries offered by protesters and agreed with gardai) breached by gardai. The press has been fed lies to paint protesters in a bad light. Everyone, on the other hand, who has come to hear directly about the CAS plan is eternally grateful to the protesters for bothering to stand up and defend the city from the greedy ignorant version of progress that is so blatantly being played out here.
Bear in mind, the protest has continued peacefully, considerately, each person getting more informed, more individually motivated and contributing ideas and negotiating skills, showing staying power, supporting each other. These are people with integrity and I encourage you once again to vote FOR the motion to stop the bridge, because the council’s stance has seriously lacked that integrity so far.
There was some talk of job creation on the Brewery site. There were continued lies until the last meeting, that you don’t know who will take the brewery site. Well, the current jobs Kilkenny has are mainly in tourism or high street shops. Both these are supported by the Medieval Mile. A mad flyover bridge will cut off the castle end of the medieval mile from the St Canice’s Cathedral end. Furthermore, some God forsaken superstore on the brewery site will kill business in all other shops. So you will be losing more jobs than are gained.
There are precedents already in Ireland where a bad plan for a car park was already half built when it had to be taken down and the site returned to its natural state. The fact that it is a decision that has already been taken in Ireland shows you the power of the council, to do what is best for the city and pay attention to what the people, who elected you, want. This precedent can give you conviction to see through what you must know needs to happen. Stop the bridge. Deny all knowledge of the real and full CAS plan. Just as section 140 says, the incoming councilors at the last election were not informed of the plan.
Just because you sign a general paper of agreement for City Planning, does not mean you cannot question this project. You are individuals like us, with many concerns and much to understand. We know that you have no doubt deliberately not been versed in the CAS plans and implications. Only a few will be benefiting hugely from the project. Having said that, you cannot say after tomorrow that you did not know.
This is your chance to disassociate from the process of garda bullying, lack of public consultation, waste of public money, embarrassing recall of the 45 million the council received last year to finish the ring road and didn’t do it, the contamination of drinking water, destruction of wildlife habitat and thoroughfares, the legacy of a bridge to sit there meeting no road on either side for any number of years, lack of regard for your commitments to the voters. No one really knows what the fiasco has cost so far but its a lot less than it will cost if it goes ahead. It is the CAS itself which is the massive waste of public money.
Please vote FOR the motion to stop work on the bridge tomorrow.
Very best regards, Frances Micklem