If you’re feeling the need of something to depress you, troll on over to the website of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and download the six PDF sections of the third Peace Monitoring Report. Written by Dr Paul Nolan, it is an extremely impressive piece of work — and a welcome counter to the witterings of the peaceprocess feelgoodistas who are so prominent on 2RN these days.
If you would prefer a summary, here is Liam Clarke’s account in the Belfast Telegraph, and here is his commentary; Tomboktu and others pointed to some problems with the headline on the first piece, but I’m more concerned that the focus on education in the headline on Clarke’s account may distort perceptions of what the report and, indeed, the rest of Clarke’s article are really about.
The report uses indicators grouped into four domains:
- the sense of safety
- cohesion and sharing
- political progress.
I didn’t find much that was cheering in any of them. Nolan lists ten key points:
- The moral basis of the 1998 peace accord has evaporated
- The absence of trust has resulted in an absence of progress
- There has been some increase in polarisation
- A culture war is being talked into existence
- The City of Culture year presented a different understanding of culture
- Failure lies in wait for young working-class Protestant males
- Front line police have been the human shock absorbers for failures elsewhere
- The rebalancing of inequalities unbalances unionism
- At grassroots level the reconciliation impulse remains strong
- No one picks up the tab.
Only the fifth and ninth offer any good news. But, from a waterways perspective, I was struck by the complete irrelevance of the proposed reconstruction of the Ulster Canal, the Clones Sheugh, to solving any of these problems. Yet Waterways Ireland, around whose neck this dead albatross has been hung, is the largest of the cross-border bodies and the sheugh is the largest capital project proposed to be undertaken by any of them. If the Irish government wants to do something to solve the real and continuing problems of Northern Ireland, as outlined in the Peace Monitoring Report, couldn’t it find something more useful to do?
Incidentally, I have not been able to find coverage of the report on the websites of the Irish Times, Irish Independent or Irish Examiner, although that may reflect poor searching on my part rather than any lack of interest on theirs.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Foreign parts, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Non-waterway, People, Politics, Restoration and rebuilding, Sources, Tourism, Ulster Canal, waterways
Tagged Belfast Telegraph, boats, canal, Clones, Community relations Council, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, Erne, Liam Clarke, Limerick, lock, lost, Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland, Paul Nolan, Peace Monitoring Report, sheugh, Ulster Canal, Waterways Ireland
That’s from the government’s Medium Term Economic Strategy 2010 [PDF]. Not a word about the Clones Sheugh, which would undoubtedly save the economies of both jurisdictions on this island, but perhaps it will qualify for one of the new models of infrastructure funding mentioned hither and yon in the document.
Maybe the Sunbeds Bill would be more interesting – or more important.
PS Folk who write “between both” should be flogged naked through the streets before being hanged in the marketplace.
Posted in Economic activities, Foreign parts, Ireland, Politics, Ulster Canal
Tagged canal, Clones, Clones sheugh, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, Dublin, Ireland, Ulster Canal, Waterways Ireland
… is to address, on Sunday night, anyone who watches television but doesn’t have a choice of television channels. There will be a medium term economic strategy too, promising a new and better future for all our people. But as Finfacts says:
… past experience coupled with signals so far, suggest that [the strategy] will be a promotional brochure for an international audience with some questionable claims and omissions. The expected plunge in services exports by as much as €50bn during the time horizon is not likely to be acknowledged.
There is an urgent need for a credible growth strategy that has an unvarnished assessment of the challenges with an honest analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, using data that is free of the outsize impact of the foreign-owned exporting sector.
I wonder whether the strategy will include any sheughs.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Foreign parts, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Non-waterway, Politics, Restoration and rebuilding, Ulster Canal, Waterways management
Tagged boats, canal, Clones, Clones sheugh, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, Erne, Ireland, Lough Derg, Operations, Shannon-Erne Waterway, Ulster Canal, waterways, Waterways Ireland