An article in the Irish Times about railway restoration has prompted me to set out my views on waterways restoration. Essentially, I don’t believe public funds should be spent on projects that won’t provide a decent return, but I do favour small-scale conservation, opening up walking and cycling routes along waterways and marketing them to industrial heritage enthusiasts (and others).
Call me crazy…but, it is my firm belief that the Canalways could provide a breakeven point on investment. Many Nationals, it seems, from my research & reviews thouroughly enjoy the waters of Eire. Marketing such a fabulous gift to the world’s travelling public, will bring to Eire direct economic benefits. Each Euro spent within the Republic, would spin at least by a factor of 3.5.
It would be nice if we had any measurements, but the only figures are Waterways Ireland’s accounts, which show that users pay a tiny proportion of the costs of running the waterways. In the context of the Ulster Canal, though, the question is whether the marginal benefit of a canal to Clones, added to the existing hundreds of miles of waterways, exceeds the marginal cost of its construction. Such studies as have been done suggest that it does not. bjg