€1,200 spent cutting 'love locks' off the Ha'penny Bridge
MORE than €1,220 has been spent in five months removing so-called love locks from Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge.
Dublin City Council said workers cut away the padlocks during five separate visits to the famous Liffey crossing between March and July this year.
The locks are inscribed with names of couples and the keys are then thrown away.
"Since March 2013, we have removed the padlocks using cutting equipment and, at this stage, we haven't identified more cost effective methods," the local authority said in a report.
"The cost to date of removing padlocks is €1,075 plus VAT at 13.5pc based on five visits working outside normal working hours so as to avoid the risk of injury to the public," it added.
The information was released to Independent councillor Mannix Flynn, who stated love locks had resulted in damage to the paintwork and also rusting of the structure.
"It is also having a negative visual impact on the bridge as a protected heritage structure," he said in a question to the council.
He suggested the local authority arrange for a more suitable location in the public domain where people can attach love locks.
"There may even be an opportunity to create a cultural initiative in the Docklands which could result in more tourists visiting this area to fulfil their needs for declarations of love through the love lock practice," he stated.
Officials told Mr Flynn they would consider the suggestions made.
The padlocks have continued appearing on the bridge since 2011, despite a warning from the council that removing them with cutters poses a potential risk of damage.
The love locks have also appeared on other bridges in the city.
Another Independent councillor, Christy Burke, disputed whether they needed to be removed.
"I don't think they're doing any harm. I think they brighten up the place," he told the Herald previously.
"There are bigger problems in the city that the council should be dealing with.
"If young people want to do this thing as a message of love, bring it on. I have no problem with it if it is done with goodwill."
The phenomenon is a popular around European cities, which started in the last decade.
The almost two-century-old Ha'penny Bridge is the most popular place in the city for love locks. The Millennium Bridge is another popular site for the love locks.
It opened in 1816 and links Temple Bar with Liffey Street.