I have sent this email to Bernard Durkan, a Fine Gael TD for Kildare North:
It is reported that, in the Dáil on 6 March 2014, you said:
“The canal restoration that has taken place over the past 50 years was largely done through voluntary effort. While Waterways Ireland has an involvement in upgrading the canals, and it has a responsibility that we all respect, cognisance should be taken of the huge voluntary effort in the restoration of the canals.”
I would be grateful if you could tell me the evidence for your assertion. How did you measure restoration and the respective contributions of volunteers and of Waterways Ireland and its predecessor bodies?
I may confess that I think he’s talking through his hat, but I will read his evidence with interest.
The system we have is now great.
How it got there is desputabe,
WHAT we now have to do is to make it work WHY DOES THIS appear impossible?
Hi, Robert. My view is that we can’t make it work if there is a refusal to face reality. The politicians whose remarks I’ve read are so ill-informed, largely as the result of a lobbying campaign, that they think (for instance) that there is a vibrant tourism industry on the canals, which there isn’t. Talking bollocks, as so many of them, and so many enthusiasts, have been doing, just creates an imaginary world and makes it harder to tackle the problems in the real world. Just as an example, while the politicians have been making a fuss about canal charges and the bleeding Naomh Éanna, they don’t seem to have noticed that (a) the Shannon hire industry is down 60% in ten years, (b) Waterways Ireland’s budget is down a third in rather less time and (c) there is a continuing political row between the north and south government departments. Meanwhile they’re looking for the Ulster bleeding Canal to dilute the traffic further. A dose of cold water is urgently required. bjg
As a constituent of Mr. Durkan’s, I look forward to his answer.
I have been unable to find whether he has ever done anything other than being a politician. Have you any info? bjg
Per a reliable source of mine, he was “an agricultural contractor and farmer”. One subsidy queen supporting another group of subsidy queens.