Roscommon County Council has cleared the way for the exciting expansion of the Cootehall Bridge Restaurant. At last Monday’s meeting of the Council members unanimously contravened the Lough Key Development Plan of 2002. Cllr. Rachel Doherty, Cllr. Charlie Hopkins, Cllr. John Connor and Cllr. Ernie Keenan spoke in favour of the contravention. The owners of the Cootehall Bridge Restaurant, Eric and Heidi Cahill, will now apply for permission to expand the size of the restaurant from 40 seats to 140. Proposing the contravention, Cllr. Doherty expressed the belief that an enlarged Cootehall Bridge restaurant would enhance the Lough Key area as a tourist attraction. ‘We expect that visitor tourism will increase substantially if this restaurant is allowed to expand. Eric and Heidi Cahill have been welcomed into the community in Cootehall where they work very hard. Tourism has great potential in Cootehall and we hope that the expansion of this restaurant, together with a refurbished marina, and an arts studio, will attract greater numbers to the area,’ said the Fianna Fáil councillor. Cllr. John Connor supported Cllr. Doherty’s proposal, and said that facilitating an application for planning is ‘most important.’ Cllr. Tom Crosby agreed, and described the Bridge restaurant as ‘an excellent restaurant’ in a ‘key tourist village’.