Sorry, Longford

Waterways Ireland’s Feasibility Study into the Restoration of the Longford Branch of the Royal Canal is available for download [7 PDFs: main report + 6 appendices]. Skip straight to page 59:

6.5 Recommendation

Given the current financial climate and because of the associated costs, environmental issues and uincertainty regarding planning approval it is not recommended to pursue this project any further at this time.

The recent work undertaken in regard to the shared walkway/cycleway has protected the asset as a publicly owned recreational amenity and it is recommended that any outstanding property issues be resolved and finalised in order to complete the protection of the asset.

I hope that admirable recommendation survives the pre-election period.

By the way, there’s a snail ….

2 responses to “Sorry, Longford

  1. Thanks for the heads up Brian.

    My thoughts on the report are:

    1. They could have done with your services in proof reading,
    2. I am at a loss to see how boating and fishing contribute to a healthier lifestyle for the community (walking and cycling do not require the restoration of the canal, merely the towpath(s)),
    3. The heritage benefits in reopening the canal would equally apply to the restoration of a towpath(s) and would also allow for users to see the aquaducts in all their glory, something you cannot do in a boat,
    4. If we take it that branch is 5 miles long and for the sake of argument, boats will be based in Longford Town, that would be 75-90 minutes at the start and end of each journey to get to/from the main line of the Royal Canal. The Clones problem raises its head here also.

  2. Agreed. The other problem with the report is that the Recommendation does not follow from the analysis. It is of course a sensible recommendation, but it leaves it open to future lobbyists to say that the report did not rule out re-opening: that it simply said that it should not proceed now because there is no money. This, I think, is weak:

    In regard to economic evaluation if it were to be considered that the reopenign of the Longford Branch of the Royal Canal was a viable development it would be necessary to complete an economic appraisal as is consistent with most capital projects seeking government funding.

    I think that Waterways Ireland could save itself some money by changing the process by which it conducts feasibility studies. The first question to be addressed should be “Is there any evidence that will attract new users to the waterways, as opposed to displacing activity from elsewhere?” If no useful evidence exists, the proponents can be told where to take themselves and WI can save the cost of a study. Economics first, engineering and environment afterwards.


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