English pensioners

How useful it is to have such well-informed politicians as John Kelly, a Labour Party senator from Co Roscommon. He was able to tell us that there are 300–400 people “moored on our canals and waterways”, which is rather fewer than WI thinks, what with there being over 8000 boats registered on the Shannon. The learned Senator Kelly was also able to tell us that, of those 300–400 people,

Most of them are retired couples from England who are receiving small English pensions. This proposal will drive them off the water and back to England. They are contributing hugely to local economies throughout this country.

Most of them? For, I presume, certain values of most — and certain values of 300–400.

Maybe whoever is briefing politicians could make sure they can read their briefs properly …. It was almost a relief to turn to the more conventional Trottery from Joe Higgins. I imagine that his intervention will certainly sway Fine Gael.

Addendum: Senator Kelly did it again next day, but at least he had changed most to many.

Approximately 400 families in this country currently paying only €126 per year in respect of mooring will if these by-laws are introduced now be faced with charges of €3,500 per annum. Many of the people concerned are retired English couples and families who cannot afford housing.

The concept of a range of prices seems to be unfamiliar to the good senator, so he takes the top rate, for the largest size of boat in the best location with the highest level of services, and says that that applies to all. And he seems to be unaware that many boats are parked by people who do not live on them.

Had the good senator had able to read Waterways Ireland’s document, he would have seen that proposed mooring fees range upwards from €160 for non-residential moorings (many boats are not lived on) and €1250 for residential. Claiming that the highest value is the only one is seriously misleading.



7 responses to “English pensioners

  1. Was there any research done on what it costs to use the canals or live aboard on the english canal system??

  2. I can’t speak for anybody else, but I have. The Canal & River Trust [C&RT] charges a licence fee; unless a boat is continuously cruising (easier on the large UK system), it will need to make separate arrangements for a mooring. At present rates a 12-month canal-and-river licence, with no mooring, for a 45′ boat, which is not huge, is STG£791.98; prompt payment reduces that to STG£712.78. A PDF giving the rates is available, with other information, here. There is information about mooring here. bjg

  3. What a desperate situation these are our elected representatives what hope is there?

  4. None from that lot, anyway. bjg

  5. If they are on “small” pensions, they are not contributing hugely, quite apart form which, I look at things on a whole country basis – there is a massive subsidy from the taxpayer so that 300-400 English pensioners can make a miniscule difference to a bar or two in the Midlands.

  6. Yes … it wouldn’t really be a good investment unless the English pensioners were bringing wealth to the area. In other words, it would be better if they were relocated to a poor region: maybe one that is, as a Sinn Féin TD recently said,

    still suffer[ing] both the legacy of decades of economic neglect and the current ill-effects of partition and the failure of regional policy by successive Governments in this State […] and [where] that assistance [should] be given to the struggling indigenous small and medium-sized businesses on which the local economies in the Border counties are based.

    In such regions, of course, those indigenous small businesses, or at least the legal ones, include pubs and shops, and the influx of a (comparatively) wealthy population of incomers, with a high marginal propensity to consume, might be very welcome. Such a scheme might qualify for some sort of EU cooperation-between-states funding and, if we could find a suitable region neat the border, as the SF TD so rightly said, there might be crossborderality loot as well.

    Can you think of any waterway that might qualify? One with some sort of cross-border aspect. It doesn’t have to be a very big waterway — any old sheugh would do — and it doesn’t have to be navigable or connected with the rest of the waterways network; indeed it might be best if it weren’t connected, as then the struggling indigenous small and medium-sized businesses would have captive customers. In fact, all that is needed is a basin or harbour in a small town near the border, without any connection to other waterways but with enough water to float a fleet of narrowboats. I wonder where that could be. bjg

  7. Pingback: Rural nitwits and retirement communities | Irish waterways history

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