John Martin, Chief Executive (or, as we say in Ulster Scots, Heid Fector) of Waterways Ireland, was due to retire at the end of March 2013. The job has not yet been advertised and Mr Martin has been asked to stay on until his successor has been appointed.

His retirement was not a surprise: for instance, as I reported here, Ministers thanked him at the North-South Ministerial Council meeting on 121212:

Ministers thanked John Martin CEO of Waterways Ireland who is due to retire in  March next year for his contribution to the Body and noted the process for appointing a new CEO.

So why the delay? It is of course possible that headhunters are beating the bushes seeking retired chief executives of waterways bodies who could be persuaded to apply, but I would have thought that a public position should be publicly advertised. I have asked the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for information.

6 responses to “WI CEO

  1. The realpolitik is that sanction will be required to fill the post and this may not be forthcoming in the present economic environment.

    Will you be applying? Bring some much needed reality to the running of the waterways environment.

  2. I wouldn’t put me in charge of running a Chinese bumboat. Better outside the tent. bjg

  3. “Better outside the tent.” Sounds like me!

  4. Pingback: WI CEO update | Irish waterways history

  5. Before John Martin took over management of Waterways Ireland it was run by a Mr Mahony, in very much a caretaker only capacity.
    Over the years, as CEO of Waterways Ireland, John has taken great pains to explain to me, in the context of proposals to complete the island’s navigation network by reopening the navigation route through from the lough Erne to Belfast harbour, why the regional economic benefits attached to reactivating a derelict canal have to be excluded from all financial calculations. Under the ‘Green Rule book’ (some sort of civil servant bible) only the income generated from boat-hire can be put against the capital investment. No consideration as to the social benefit, regional economy stimulus or tertiary impact on the private sector can be given any consideration though clear examples of such are to hand. When the late Charles Haughey decided to re-open the Shannon-Erne navigation back in the 1980’s he over-rode such dogmatic thinking. The result speaks for itself. The stimulated fiscal return to the exchequer was calculated to show the capital outlay was recovered in approximately 8 years. Add to that the fact the restoration exercise was executed by direct inter-jurisdictional communication and without the assistance of a dedicated cross-border body. The Ulster Canal features in the Good Friday Agreement as a project to be pursued for the greater good and over the years approximately six studies on feasibility and practicality have been undertaken with engineers now stood by to lay an industrial capacity fibre-optic link along the entire 55-mile towpath to the Project Kelvin Atlantic cable linking the USA to the EU. Knowing this facility would be to hand I was advised by the NSMC in December 2006 that the Ulster and Lagan £200 million restoration costs had been successfully nurse-maided through the ‘Interreg Three’ structural funding application for 2007-20013 and had been approved. Two years later the canals were dropped from the list of approved projects on instruction from some civil servant. The latest promised €30 million funding to make a start on the Ulster from the Erne to Clones is proving very unclear and now there is the issue of a family of newts requiring re-housing. I feel for John and wish him well in retirement but worry as to who will consider taking on WI. Another period of ‘caretaker management’ has to be avoided at all costs.

  6. Thanks for that. As you’ll see elsewhere on this site [passim ad nauseam, as Private Eye says], I don’t at all agree with you about the Ulster Canal, a potential disaster from which only the economic slump has saved us. However, I’d prefer to keep discussion of that topic under its own headings, so I won’t go in to it here. The salary being offered for the WI CEO’s job seems rather low to me. bjg

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