Piers and seed potatoes

I dare say you’ve observed, Major, how singularly little originality there is about Chief Secretaries. One of them, whose name is lost in the mists of antiquity, thought of piers and seed potatoes, and since then all his successors have gone on building piers and handing out seed potatoes. They never hit on anything original. Now if I was a Chief Secretary I’d strike out a line of my own. When I found I had to build something I’d run up a few round towers.

Thus the Rev J J Meldon, curate of Ballymoy, to Major Kent in George A Birmingham’s excellent Spanish Gold. (Birmingham was really Canon James Owen Hannay, who managed to annoy nationalist Catholics, which is always useful.)

Amongst the builders of piers were Alexander Nimmo and the Shannon Commissioners, whose works on the estuary included Saleen Pier.

The Irish Press Releases website has a page dated 17 April 2013:

Funding approved for Clare piers

Co. Clare, Ireland — 17 Apr. 2013 — Funding has been approved for various harbour and pier improvement projects in County Clare. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, T.D., today announced funds totalling 91,500 euro for projects at Ballyvaughan, Cappagh, Liscannor, Carrigaholt and Kilbaha harbours/piers.

“The safety works scheduled to take place at these harbours will have a hugely positive impact on the livelihoods of fishermen and other users of the piers,” explained Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy. He added: “These projects are central to ensuring the safety of all users of the piers. The continued upgrading of these piers is essential to the development of both industry and tourism in the respective areas.”

The funding announcement features allocations of €22,500 to Carrigaholt, €37,500 to Ballyvaughan, €9,000 to Kilbaha, and €11,250 to both Liscannor and Cappagh.

According to Senator Mulcahy: “The funding contribution from the Government covers 75% of the total cost of the relevant projects which include repairs to the pier wall in Ballyvaughan, the installation of a handrail to pier access, harbour wall and upgrade of visitor moorings at Carrigaholt, a complete remediation to the existing pier walls at Liscannor, repairs to the sea wall at Cappagh, and repairs to the harbour wall capping stones at Kilbaha.”

Carrigaholt, Kilbaha and Cappa[gh] are all Shannon Estuary harbour or piers; Cappa[gh] was extended by the Shannon Commissioners. This press release suggests therefore that, if the Chief Secretary’s successors cannot afford to build any new piers, they can at least afford some money to repair them. There is no news about seed potatoes (or, alas, about fodder).

Unfortunately I could find nothing about this topic either on the website of Senator Tony Mulcahy FG or on that of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, although I may have had the wrong search terms. However, some other (coincidentally. also Fine Gael) politicians have welcomed the planned spending of money on Glin pier [do look at all the pics], which seems to be used only for swimming, so perhaps there is a nationwide campaign of spending small amounts of money in many places — and getting local Fine Gael pols to announce it. Presumably it distracts attention from the shortage of seed potatoes.

The Minister for Ag is a member of Fine Gael.


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