Longford is a town about five miles from Clondra, the junction of the Royal Canal with the River Shannon near Tarmonbarry.

Some of the local cargo-cultists seem to believe that, if the Longford branch of the Royal Canal is restored, fleets of vessels (probably from Limerick) will bring untold prosperity to the town. And the unfortunates of Waterways Ireland have been told to produce a feasibility study on the matter. According to the minister for waterways, the study will be available on the Waterways Ireland at the end of October.

Irrespective of whether the restoration is feasible, the question is whether it would be sensible. I see two possibilities:

(a) some of the thousands of vessels already using the Royal Canal will be attracted to Longford, where the attractions of the night-life will entice them to spend more money than they would otherwise have spent in, say, Clondra. If they don’t spend more than they would otherwise have spent, the spending is simply displaced from one place (eg Clondra) to another (Longford). If that is so, it might be worth the while of the publicans of Longford to pay for the restoration, because they will benefit from it, but there is no benefit to the taxpayer in paying for it because the spending is simply moved from one place to another

(b) the attractions of Longford are so great that thousands of visitors who would not otherwise have visited the Royal Canal will now do so. Again, the displacement argument applies, so these thousands of visitors must come from overseas, attracted by the reputation of Longford for metropolitan sophistication. Or something. Now, if that reputation were enough to attract overseas tourists, they would already be visiting Longford in their droves. Are they?

I am sure that Longford has many attractions apart from the alternator repair shop.


2 responses to “Longford

  1. The ultimate answer to this line of reasoning is surely not just “Why on earth would anyone want to re-open a canal arm to Longford?” but more “Why on earth would anyone want to live in Longford?” and then ultimately “Why on earth would anyone want to even live in Ireland, when they could all go and live in London?”

  2. They will (assuming that your nice Messrs Cameron and Farage don’t object). Large cities are the future; even the cows will live in vertical farms in cities. bjg

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