Tom Clarke Bridge Fund to continue

Pictured: Tom Clarke Bridge.

Pictured: Tom Clarke Bridge.

There have been a number of changes over at the Tom Clarke Bridge of late. Firstly, there was the end of the toll operation by a private company which lasted some thirty years.

On January 1st, 2016 Dublin City Council reclaimed ownership and operation of the tariff collection.

Then, in May of this year, the bridge’s name was changed from The East Link, in a ceremony presided over by President Higgins.

With all that commotion, there has been some doubt among locals if the tolls are set to continue, and if so, if the community fund that has historically been made available to groups in the area will survive.

With the first question out of the way (City councillors voted to retain the charge despite criticism from the AA), the subject of the community fund remains.

The original public/private partnership agreement from 1984, provided for an annual payment of €50,000 by Eastlink Limited, to Dublin City Council. This fund was intended exclusively for the benefit of local and public projects and gradually increased over time to €123,900. The monies were split equally to groups north and south of the bridge.

Following consideration by the Central and South East Area committees of DCC in July of this year, it was proposed to establish a new Tom Clarke Bridge Grant Scheme which will be incorporated as a subcategory of the existing Community Grant Scheme from 2017 onwards.

Applications for this new scheme will be subject to the same terms and conditions, criteria and evaluation process as the Community Grants Scheme. According to DCC, “This will ensure a more streamlined and transparent process, eliminating overlaps of the two schemes, and optimising the use of staff and IT resources.”

All parties who previously applied to the East Link Grants Scheme over the past three years have already been informed of the new changes, and DCC are currently accepting applications up until the closing date on October 28th, 2016.

By Paul O’Rourke