When Waterways Ireland spends on capital investment in either RoI or NI, the total cost is paid by the jurisdiction in which the expenditure occurs (apart from the decision by the RoI government to pay the total cost of a canal from Lough Erne to Clones, where about half of the route lies in NI).
For current spending, Waterways Ireland gets 85% of its grant income (which is itself accounts for the vast bulk of its total income) from the RoI Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the balance from the NI Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.
The RoI government expenditure plans were announced on Monday 5 December 2011. The Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012–2014 section on the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht mentions waterways, or matters affecting them, in several places.
Key Outcomes of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure
As I noted here, waterways are the lowesst priority within the department. It intends to focus on eight activities, and Waterways Ireland and An Foras Teanga are covered in the final point:
- supporting Waterways Ireland and An Foras Teanga within the context of the implementation of the Good Friday/ St Andrew’s Agreements.
An Foras Teanga covers Foras na Gaeilge and Tha Boord o Ulster-Scotch/The Ulster Scots Agency.
Expenditure and Numbers Ceilings
No mention of waterways, but the department says that steps to be taken in 2012 will save €6 million in each year of 2012, 2013 and 2014, with further savings of €10 million to be made in 2013 and €22 million in 2014. The department’s “total allocations for gross current expenditure” are to be reduced from €232 million in 2012 to €218 million in 2013 and €205 million in 2014. I can’t quite make the numbers match, but never mind.
Estimates 2012: summary of measures
The measures are summarised under five headings, one of which — North-South Co-operation — covers Waterways Ireland and An Foras Teanga. The department expects to save €2.2 million here, but says:
Any savings, in excess of the agreed 3% per annum efficiency savings, for the North/South Implementation Bodies will require the approval of the North/South Ministerial Council. It is envisaged that savings will be achieved through efficiencies and a focus on front-line services.
The 2011 estimate for current expenditure for WI and AFT was €40 982 000; a cut of €2.2 million is about 5.4% of that amount.
Indicative savings areas 2013–2014 to remain within Expenditure Ceilings
This section shows €1 million more saved in each of 2013 and 2014 but says:
Savings, in excess of the agreed 3% per annum efficiency savings, for the North/South Implementation Bodies will require the approval of the North/South Ministerial Council.
It is not clear whether, in the figures for 2012 and in those for 2013 and 2014, the amounts of €2.2 million, €1 million and €1 million are to be in addition to the “3% per annum efficiency savings” or whether the amounts shown include the 3%.
The introduction to the section on Indicative Savings Areas says:
Reducing overall expenditure in 2013-2014, as required by the expenditure ceilings, will be a significant challenge and require ongoing critical analysis by the Department. The Department’s funding is largely focused on supports to sustain the arts and our cultural institutions, to protect our natural and built heritage and to promote our native language. However, much of this current expenditure is also of strategic importance in sustaining and growing cultural tourism and is making a significant contribution to economic recovery and enhancing our national reputation. All areas of spending will be subject to continued evaluation to ensure that scarce resources are directed towards areas of greatest impact and value-for-money.
This is standard civil service please-spare-our-budget stuff.
2012 Estimates for Supply Services
This section no longer provides a breakdown between An Foras Teanga and Waterways Ireland. In the 2011 Estimates, AFT got roughly 40% and WI roughly 60% of the money for current expenditure; AFT required no capital funding so WI got the whole lot under that heading. I will assume that the same ratios apply for 2012 but, if anyone knows better, I will be happy to amend this.
Current spending (WI)
2010 Estimates: €25 585 000
2011 Estimates: € 24 335 000
2012 Estimates: €22 929 600 (60% of €38 216 000)
Capital spending (WI)
2008 Estimates: €11 000 000
2009 Estimates: €10 300 000
2010 Estimates: €8 000 000
2011 Estimates: €6 000 000 (or €6 002 000)
2012 Estimates: €4 500 000 (or €4 502 000) (100%)
A footnote says that the allocations to northsouthery are subject to the approval of the North–South Ministerial Council.