Waterways Ireland asset disposals

I was interested in Waterways Ireland’s programme for disposal of assets. I wrote asking for:

  • a list and details of the assets disposed of since 1 January 2010, including the amounts realised. I said that I was particularly interested in disposals of land and built assets (as opposed, say, to old machinery)
  • a list and details of the assets planned to be disposed of between the date of my enquiry and 31 December 2012
  • an account of the uses to which the funds realised have been, are being or will be put
  • a list of land and built assets being leased or rented out by Waterways Ireland.

I had mentioned some of these disposals here when the North/South Ministerial Council [NSMC] approved them, but I had no information on their value.

WI very kindly provided the information; it’s easier to deal with it in reverse order.

Land and built assets being leased or rented out

WI said:

Waterways Ireland currently leases a total of 233 properties, comprising (1) land, (2) buildings and (3) land and buildings. Of these properties, 121 are on the Grand Canal, 50 on the Royal Canal, 3 on the Barrow Navigation, 2 on the Lower Bann Navigation, 2 on the Shannon Erne Waterway and 55 on the Shannon Navigation. The compilation of the full list will take some time due to pressure of work coming up to the end of year. However, if there are specific areas, navigations or regions of particular interest, every effort will be made to provide the information as quickly as possible.

That’s quite a lot of leases, so I said that I was happy to wait.

The application of funds

WI said:

The funds raised are principally used for capital works in the relevant jurisdiction.

So if something is sold in NI, the money is used there. That is consonant with WI’s funding arrangements for capital projects (other than the Clones Sheugh). As far as I can see, all the property disposed of was in the republic.

Note that the disposals (rightly) do not go to supplement grant income for current expenditure.

Disposals 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012

WI very kindly sent me an Excel file listing the disposals, only one of which fell into the category covered by my second question (planned to be disposed of between the date of my enquiry and 31 December 2012), so I’m dealing with both questions under one heading. WI said:

The 2010 & 2011 figures have been extracted from Waterways Ireland’s Audited Accounts and represent the Gross amount received i.e. before costs. The 2012 figures have not yet been audited.

The first point to be made is that the total value of property disposals over three years was only €529,557.19: a little over half a million euro in the context of capital expenditure for the three years of about €30,000,000: €21m in 2010 and €5m in 2011, according to WI’s annual accounts, and an amount slightly smaller than 2011’s budgeted for in 2012. So the asset disposals are not very important in WI’s overall capital spending.

disposals to public bodies

Several of the disposals were to other public bodies, allowing them (I imagine) to build bridges, lay pipes and so on. There may also (I imagine) have been disposals of small parcels of land that WI didn’t need but the other body could use. Here are the disposals that seem to fall into that category:

  • Long Lease of Property at Ballyconnell to Cavan County Council: €18,100.00
  • Long Lease of Property at Reilly’s Bridge, Dublin to Iarnrod Eireann: €23,000. This was, I think, what the NSMC called “granting of a 99 year lease to Córas Iompair Éireann for the proposed construction of a road bridge, crossing the Royal Canal at Ratoath Road, Dublin”
  • Long Lease of Property at Lesson Street, Dublin to Dublin City Council: €5,100.00. This may have been what allowed the Council to bury utility ducts under the towpath
  • Long Lease of Lands at Tullamore re: N52: €25,000.00
  • Grant of Easement at Ballygoran to Kildare County Council: €7,500. This may have been to allow Kildare County Council to run water pipes across the Royal Canal near Pike Bridge
  • Long Lease of Lands at Kilkenny re: N9/N10: €41,791.50
  • Long Lease of Lands at Fingal re: M50/N3: €48,582.62.

There was also a Grant of Right of Way at Ballyleague, Co. Roscommon (presumably at WI’s harbour on the west of the Shannon, opposite Lanesborough) for €5,000. No further information is provided but this looks like another pro forma grant of access, perhaps to the local authority. If you know more, please leave a Comment below.


Delwood Park is in Castleknock, Dublin 15, and part of it backs on to the Royal Canal. Delwood Close is east of Delwood Park and runs towards the canal.

In 2010/11 WI sold “two parcels of land at Delwood Close, Castleknock” for €60,000 and in 2012 it sold “9 Plots to rear of Delwood Park, Castleknock” for €36,000. I don’t know who bought them so I don’t know whether the residents were extending their gardens or Iarnród Éireann wanted to build a new platform or provide a bridge over the canal from Delwood to the railway …. Local info welcome.

In the bogs

In 2010/11 WI sold property at Ferbane, Co Offaly, on the Grand Canal, for €100.00. In 2012 it sold three properties at Derrycooley, south of Pollagh, which is also on the Grand Canal, for €587.00, 750.00 and €750.00 respectively, and it expects to sell property at Pollagh for €6,750.00 before the end of 2012. That’s a total of less than €9,000.00. I don’t know what land this is, or why WI owns it, but at the prices I suspect it’s bog. Could it have been associated with Turraun?

The rest

The lowest price achieved was for “Long Lease of Property at Lough Ree”, which earned “No Premium”, which I take it means that there was no charge. I don’t know what property that was for; did WI support any charitable or similarly worthy endeavour on Lough Ree in 2012?

The highest price was €150,000.00 for “Sale of Freehold Interest of Property in Salins, Co. Kildare”. Again, I would welcome information on the property. In fact, that applies to all of these, so I won’t repeat it.

The second highest price was €87,500.00 for “Sale of Lots at Derrymullen, Robertstown, Co. Kildare”, which is where Lowtown is. And the final two were €19,046.07 for “Sale of Lands at Albert Lough [presumably that should be Lock], Drumsna” and €19,000 for “Sale of Freehold Interest in Properties at Dolphins Barn, Dublin”, which may have been land underlying the two harbours formerly to be found there.

Dolphin's Barn

Dolphin’s Barn

My OSI logo and permit number for websiteWasn’t that fun?


6 responses to “Waterways Ireland asset disposals

  1. Have you ever considered a career in journalism ;) What would be really interesting would be who the plots were sold to, how did WI decide to sell and how did the successful purchasers get to find out that said land was for sale (or is it that propspective buyer contacts WI and offers to buy on spec).

    There is a cottage adjacent to the 13th Lock on the Royal that was historically used by Irish Rail as a level crossing keepers cottage. They have long since relinquished it and WI appear to be using the grounds as a storage compound. The house is now boarded up.

    I have always wondered do WI own it or does Irish Rail own it and either way, is there a chance of it becoming available to purchase.

  2. I think that, with the public service sales, the buyer finds it needs either a chunk of land or the right to use it, then contacts WI and asks about it. WI engineers decide whether (and, if so, how much) they need to hold on to it, eg whether the canal bank will fall in as a result, and they strike a price. I don’t know, but I imagine there is some sort of protocol for such inter-public-body transfers. I think that some of the smaller sales (eg bogs) are sold to folk who have been leasing/renting them. The rest, though, I have no idea about, and I don’t follow the property pages.

    Some but not all of the properties around Deey Bridge are registered with the Land Registry and you can buy the details online. You’ll have to navigate to the right place and zoom in to select the property; it won’t allow me to give a direct link. Alternatively, contact WI’s Property and Legal dudes and ask them.


  3. Would you mind posting the Excel File which WI provided you with? or PM it to me?

  4. I don’t think that I can do that. The file was created by Waterways Ireland; I think that it owns the copyright in the material but that it has licensed me to use it for the purposes for which I asked for it. However, I don’t believe that I own the copyright or that I am free to use the information, or to pass it on to other people, for other purposes, especially if I don’t know what those purposes are. That said, I don’t think there is any information in the file that I have not shown on this page. bjg

  5. Any details on 2013 – 2014 disposals?

  6. AFAIK there have been no meetings of the North/South Ministerial Council in inland waterways format so far in 2014, so no disposals can have been approved.

    On 12 December 2012:

    The Council consented to two property disposals at the River Shannon at Harvey’s Quay to Limerick City Council to facilitate the provision of a Boardwalk along the river’s edge adjacent to the quay wall and along the Grand Canal towpath at Edenderry, Co Offaly to facilitate the development of a circular walkway by Offaly County Council.

    On 19 June 2013 and again on 20 November 2013:

    The Council consented to a number of property disposals.

    You can keep up with the joint communiqués here.

    I haven’t asked for details of any of those. bjg

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