Dublins latest river crossing opened earlier with the official ribbon cutting of the Rosie Hackett Bridge.
The Rosie Hackett Bridge, a dedicated public transport and cycling bridge, is named after the trade unionist sacked from her job due to her involvement in the 1913Dublin Lockout, before going on to serve in the Easter 1916 Rising at Liberty Hall, St Stephen’s Green and Royal College of Surgeons.
Ms Hackett (1893-1976) was a member of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) and a founding member of the Irish Women Workers’ Union. She worked for the ITGWU until retiring in the 1950s.
Officiating at the opening was Transport Minister Leo Varadkar who said, ‘The opening of the Rosie Hackett Bridge today is a strong statement. It is a recognition that we for too long have forgotten our own history. For too long we have accepted a lopsided account of our past, and the Irishwomen who worked heroically with Irishmen to create a new future.
Rosanna Hackett was just one of many women who played a crucial part in our history. But by honouring her, we honour all those who have been unjustly forgotten.
Lord Mayor, I want to congratulate the architects for designing this very elegant structure, and the contractors for doing a great job on the construction.
I also want to acknowledge the work of Dublin City Council – which brought this project to fruition – along with the Railway Procurement Agency and the National Transport Authority.
I’m especially pleased that this vital Dublin project was financed through my own Department’s capital budget.
This is a unique bridge because it’s designed specifically for public transport, for cycling, and for walking through the city centre.
It carries the southbound Luas Cross City track. Many bus journeys will now be shorter, which benefits the new Dublin Bus cross-city network. Cyclists and pedestrians will also gain from this car-free link across the Liffey.
This bridge is a key component of the new Luas Cross City line. I’m pleased to confirm that this project is on time and within budget. Advance works are well underway and the tender documents for the main Luas infrastructure contract went to the bidders last month.
I expect the next set of contracts to be signed before the end of the year, and the main project works should start early in 2015. The aim is to have the system up and running in 2017.
Before I finish, I want to make one final point. Over the last three years my Department has provided almost €70 million in funding – through the NTA – to Dublin City Council. This includes the funding for the Rosie Hackett Bridge.
Projects funded also include grants to improve existing QBCs, bus priority measures, cycle and pedestrian schemes, the Dublin Bikes, Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) signs, and loads of other small projects. Together, these projects improve our transport systems and make Dublin a better place to live, work and do business.
Dublin is our capital city and Dublin simply will not work without good public transport.
However, funding is scarce and it must be prioritised. My Department’s budget is under severe pressure. A lot of areas are looking for extra resources, even though we are already running low on funds to maintain our existing road, bus and rail networks.
That’s why it’s so important that my Department’s funding must be supplemented by funds from Dublin City Council. It is not, and can not be, a substitute for local authority funding.
If we both do our part, we can ensure that Dublin’s transport facilities, and its walking and cycling networks, can improve and develop.
This as you know is an election week and elections are the greatest exercise in democracy.”
Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn said it was an honour to be involved in the opening of the bridge which was named after woman who led Jacob’s workers in the 1913 Lockout, before taking such an active role in trade unionism and the struggle for Irish freedom.
“From 6am, we can say meet me at the Rosie”, he said. “By bike, bus or brogue, we can mosey across the Rosie.”