I’ve just been writing elsewhere to the effect that national politicians are a pack of nitwits. I was cheered therefore, in a sense, to note that local politicians, at least in Co Mayo, are (if possible) even more thick-headed than their national counterparts.
However, I am happy to be able to offer a solution, one that kills two birds with one stone. There are, it seems, many English pensioners living in poverty on boats on the canals and unable (or at least unwilling) to pay for the privilege. I had intended to suggest that Waterways Ireland should provide them with moorings away from the honeypot areas.
WI could then charge more for berths at, say, Hazelhatch, Sallins, Blanchardstown and Lowtown, catering for those in work who could afford a couple of thousand a year, while the pensioners, who don’t need to be within commuting distance of Dublin, could be accommodated in rural areas where their small additional spending would make a difference. That would help to increase those community and economic benefits to which the subsidy-seeking boat-owners draw our attention, bringing spending to deprived rural areas.
I was thinking of Pollagh, for instance: it has a pub, a shop, a church and a visiting burger van, and easy access to supplies of turf.
But the Mayo problem reminds me that Mayo too has lakes. So why not ship the boats to Mayo? As the canals byelaws provide that boats should not discharge any water other than from engine-cooling, these boats must be fitted with holding tanks or other non-discharging loos, so there would be no pollution problem. In fact Mayo could advertise itself to the world as offering floating retirement communities at modest cost, thus renewing its own population while solving a problem for boat-owners. I thnk this is a winner.