The invaluable KildareStreet.com tells us of this written Dáil question and answer on 4 February 2015:
Martin Heydon [FG, Kildare South]: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to concerns regarding the lack of dredging on the lateral canals of the River Barrow and overgrown vegetation which is making navigation difficult; her plans to improve this situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The lateral canal at Ardree on the Barrow [OSI ~1840]
Heather Humphreys [FG, Clones Sheugh]: I am advised by Waterways Ireland that, as the Barrow Navigation is wholly situated within the River Barrow and River Nore Special Area of Conservation (SAC), due regard must be given to the provisions of the EC (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011. These require a rigorous assessment to be carried out to assess the impacts of any work on the protected species and habitats, prior to any works being undertaken.
If the impacts cannot be screened out and a Stage II assessment is required, a full planning application must be made. In addition, the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 (as amended) prohibits any in-stream works, such as dredging, during the spawning season from October to June.
I am informed by Waterways Ireland that dredging on the lateral canals of the Barrow Navigation was historically done during the winter months but that this is not now possible. However, Waterways Ireland is working with Inland Fisheries Ireland to formulate procedures which would allow work to be carried out in accordance with the relevant legislation. In addition, Waterways Ireland is continuing to work with all relevant agencies to ensure that as much work as possible is carried out on the Barrow within the time constraints which exist.
I have been assured by Waterways Ireland that it remains fully committed to the development of the Barrow Navigation in line with its statutory remit.
This question produced useful information, whereas some TDs seem to ask questions only as a way of assuring their constituents of their undying love and devotion. See, for instance, Brendan Smith, who has asked the same question at least three times.
Note that the short dredging season presumably applies to other rivers that are within SACs, such as the River Shannon at Plassey.
Posted in Built heritage, Canals, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Natural heritage, Operations, Politics, Restoration and rebuilding, Scenery, Shannon, waterways, Waterways management, Weather
Tagged Barrow, canal, dredging, Ireland, lock, Operations, Plassey, Shannon, vessels, water level, waterways, Waterways Ireland
The Black Bridge at Plassey has long had a place in the hearts of Limerick people. It was damaged in the floods of 2009 and has been closed to the public ever since. Limerick Council says it can’t afford to repair it. Limerick Council is, as far as I can see, in breach of the terms of its lease of the bridge from the Department of Finance; the Department of Finance could, but has chosen not to, insist that the Council repair the bridge.
In the meantime, the Minister for Finance, for reasons best known to himself, wants a new, er, iconic footbridge in Limerick city and is prepared to spend €6 million of taxpayers’ money, via Fáilte Ireland, on a structure that can scarcely avoid blocking some of the finest views in the city.
Now, the Limerick Leader tells us, the ghastly edifice is to cost almost €18 million: €6 million from the Minister for Finance (who represents Limerick), €4 million to be borrowed and €7.8 million from the leprechauns’ pot of gold under the thorn bush. Or somewhere. Even Fianna Fáil councillors think this is insane, which is saying something.
This ridiculous proposal should be abandoned immediately and a much smaller sum should be spent instead on repairing the Black Bridge as part of a European Route of Industrial Heritage.
The Minister’s €6 million is a gift-horse that should not only have its teeth inspected: it should be taken out and shot and its carcass sent to the burger factory.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Charles Wye Williams, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Natural heritage, Non-waterway, Operations, People, Politics, Restoration and rebuilding, Scenery, Shannon, Sources, Steamers, The cattle trade, Tourism, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged Black Bridge, bridge, canal, Department of Finance, ERIH, floods, flow, Ireland, Killaloe, Limerick, Limerick city, Limerick Council, Limerick Leader, lost, Lough Derg, Minister for Finance, Operations, Plassey, Shannon, waterways, Waterways Ireland