Schoolgirl Katie Whelan has been left in absolute amazement after the Council have given her permission to “light up Limerick’s bridges”, reports Michaela Deane.
The 18-year-old explained that her idea originated from a dream she had about her cousin Lisa, who tragically died by suicide three years ago. Katie exclaimed that she couldn’t believe that the Limerick City Council had supported her so quickly. 
 
“I thought it was going to drag out a couple of weeks and that they’d have to think about it, but I have the full support of the Limerick City Council so it’s absolutely amazing,” she said.
 
Katie, who is a Leaving Cert student at Ard Scoil Mhuire, came up with the idea to light up Limerick’s bridges with positive quotes such as, “It’s a bad day, not a bad life,” after she dreamed that Lisa saw the bridge light up before she jumped and ended up stepping back. 
 
However despite the tragic circumstances that gave her the idea, Katie does not want the project to focus solely on the prevention of suicide: “I don’t want it to be aimed just at suicide prevention. This is to boost the whole city. If you’re having a bad day and pass something that’s really positive and uplifting, hopefully it will make a change to people who aren’t even contemplating taking their life.”
 
Katie is working closely with the Council to make this happen and they’re hoping to have Thomond Bridge finished before March. Due to the fact that this is something that’s never been done before, the boxes will have to be specifically made which will take both time and money, and the cost is looking to be between €1,000 and €1,500. 
 
 
With her exams coming up, Katie has a lot of work to juggle, but says that local Councillor, Daniel Butler, is taking a lot of the weight off her shoulders. Determined to get things done she said, “Now that I have a definite yes, my sights are set on what I want to get done. I’ve got my family behind me and my school is completely behind me as well.”
 
Daniel Butler, Limerick City West Councillor, said that he was delighted to help Katie get the green light for this campaign. “We went into the meeting together aiming high and left on a high. Katie is an incredible young Limerick woman and I hope the people of Limerick, especially young people, get behind her campaign now as we move on to the next stage. I can assure her I will be working hard to see this through to fruition,” he added.

With a donation site in the works, Katie will be looking for donations to see the project through. Although she knows that money is tight, she said that she would be grateful for anyone who can help out financially. “I’m looking for local businesses, the people of Limerick, and anybody else who can to donate.” 
 
With the Council and the public behind her, it looks like Thomond Bridge will be lit up as soon as possible and will hopefully be followed by the rest of the bridges in Limerick.