I wrote here about the implications of the RoI 2014 budget for Waterways Ireland. The minister, Jimmy Deenihan [FG, Kerry North/West Limerick], spoke about it in the Dáil on Wednesday 16 October 2013 [h/t KildareStreet.com]. At the end of his lengthy contribution he said:
I am committed to developing North-South co-operation within the broader arts, heritage and commemorative activities of the Department as well as through the funding of North-South bodies. A provision of €38.3 million will be made available to support the two North-South implementation bodies, An Foras Teanga, comprising Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency, and Waterways Ireland. The provision will enable Waterways Ireland to deliver on its core activities and targets, which include keeping the waterways open for navigation during the main boating season and promoting increased use of the waterways resource for recreational purposes. This expenditure should also assist in developing and promoting the waterways, attracting increased numbers of overseas visitors and stimulating business and regeneration in these areas. Capital funding of almost €4 million will be made available to Waterways Ireland to facilitate the ongoing maintenance and restoration of Ireland’s inland waterways, thereby increasing recreational access along the routes of waterways.
The Government has reaffirmed its commitment to continuing to make progress, to improving the economy, to exiting the bailout, and to helping to create jobs. The Department and the sectors it represents will make a significant contribution to this work over the course of 2014.
I pointed out last year that Waterways Ireland is part of northsouthery and that, at budget time, we don’t get a breakdown of the northsouthery budget between An Foras Teanga and Waterways Ireland. In 2011, WI got roughly 60%, but I don’t know what happened after that. Here’s what I thought was happening last year:
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%)
In his speech, above, the minister said that northsouthery is going to get €38.3 million and that Waterways Ireland is to get capital funding of €4 million. However, the €4 million is included in the €38.3 million. The expenditure report [PDF; see page 160] gives these details:
- for 2013 northsouthery had €36 210 000 of current spending; for 2014 it will get €34 425 ooo
- for 2013 northsouthery had €4 080 000 of capital spending (all, or almost all, of which was for Waterways Ireland}; for 2014 it will get €3 958 000
- the overall budget for northsouthery is down 5%.
We can calculate that the capital budget is down about 3%; the much larger current budget is down 5%. If WI gets 60% of the total, its current expenditure contribution from RoI will be €20 655 000, down over €2 000 000 from the previous year and about €5 000 000 since 2010, and its total current expenditure (85% RoI, 15% NI) will be €24 300 000.
The other interesting part of the minister’s speech is what WI is expected to do:
- promoting increased use of the waterways resource for recreational purposes
- developing and promoting the waterways
- attracting increased numbers of overseas visitors
- stimulating business and regeneration in these areas
- increasing recreational access along the routes of waterways.
That should keep them busy. But I omitted one activity:
- keeping the waterways open for navigation during the main boating season.
Emphasis mine, but does this mean that winter boating (at least if it involves staff time, eg at locks) will become a thing of the past?