The joint communiqué issued after the last North–South Ministerial Ccouncil Inland Waterways Meeting, held on 14 February 2012, is available for download here [PDF]. Perhaps the most important part is the set of four recommendations from the review of Waterways Ireland under the St Andrews Agreement:
ST. ANDREWS REVIEW – WATERWAYS IRELAND RECOMMENDATIONS
6. The Council considered four specific recommendations concerning Waterways Ireland and agreed to refer the following recommendations for endorsement to the June 2012 NSMC Plenary:
– Sponsor departments to consider options around the setting up of a Board comprising less than twelve members and to present proposals for consideration at a future NSMC Inland Waterways meeting;
– Sponsor departments to implement as appropriate, through changes to the legislation or other administrative means, a de minimis provision for dealing with Waterways Ireland disposal of a waterway or part of a waterway;
– Sponsor Departments to review the current provisions in relation to Waterways Ireland’s commercial activities to ensure that these are adequate and to report to a future NSMC Inland Waterways meeting; and
– taking account of the current economic and fiscal circumstances, no further action is taken at this time to extend the remit of Waterways Ireland.
Given that British Waterways is to become a trust, with various user representatives on its board, it is hard to see why Waterways Ireland should have no board. I was not convinced by the reasons that Éamon Ó Cuív TD gave me when I asked him about it some years ago.