Category Archives: Modern matters

Joy in heaven

I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.

That’s from the Gospel according to St Wikipedia.

Revenue’s figures, though, suggest that most of us are compliant, with around 99 per cent of taxpayers willingly handing over what the State believes is due.

Assuming this is true, the best way that Revenue can ensure the habit continues is to continue enforcing the rules effectively. Not because this scares people into paying, but because it reassures the vast majority who do that those who do not stand a good chance of being caught.

That’s from the Cantillon column in the Irish Times of 5 January 2019.

And to think that, just over four years ago, Cantillon was arguing for the continuance of a tax scheme under which 99 per cent of taxpayers were evaders. We rejoice at his or her conversion to the paths of righteousness.

Give that columnist a 99, Agent 99.

 

Diesel

Now that the Department of Finance and the ISA have raised the white flag and abandoned the tax-evaders’ delight, the Mineral Oil Tax scheme for private pleasure craft, I thought I might rewrite my page on tax-dodging boat-owners. The version here is completely new.

Owners who wish to pay the tax in 2019 for 2018 will find information here. Private owners want Form PPN1; the link on that page still shows last year’s form but it may be possible to use it, changing the dates as appropriate. That’s what Revenue told me to do last year.

The ghost of William Ockenden

I see that Ramsgate is back in the news.

Garryowen and the Royal Canal

The shortage of water for the Royal Canal has been covered a few times on these pages with pieces about its feeders in general, the Lough Owel feeder in particular and the proposed replacement supply from Lough Ennell.  Last I heard, the Lough Ennell proposal had become a matter for Irish Water rather than for the local authority, which sent the whole thing back to the drawing-board but if, Gentle Reader, you have more recent information, do please leave a Comment below.

A recent post about the inadequacy of back-pumping from the Inny led to a discussion in the Comments, from which it became plain that the Lough Owel feeder was well below normal levels and that the water supply to Mullingar, never mind that to the canal, was seriously inadequate. I was prompted to suggest that one of these might be the best type of boat for the Royal.

But I see from the blatts that the seventh cavalry, in the shape of Irish Water (whistling Garryowen, of course), intends to take water from Lough Ree to supply Athlone, Mullingar and Moate.

Perhaps there will be some to spare for the Royal Canal.

Limerick Navigation lockkeepers

The Limerick Navigation was in five sections — three canals with river sections in between — and joined Limerick to Killaloe and the rest of the inland Shannon. The canal sections had locks, each controlled by a lockkeeper who lived on site. The job passed from generation to generation: some of the lockkeepers’ cottages are still inhabited by descendants of the lockkeepers.

Cussane lock (OSI 25″ ~1900)

Cussane was the furthest downstream of the three locks on the Killaloe section of the canal. It was covered by water when the Ardnacrusha hydroelectric scheme created the “flooded area” below Killaloe. If memory serves, Cussane was known as Crowe’s Lock.

In the online searchable catalogue of the Registered Papers of the Chief Secretary’s Office in the National Archives, there is a letter dated 15 February 1830 [CSO/RP/1830/815]

[…] from James Saurin, Henry R Paine, and John Radcliffe, [Directors General of Inland Navigation], Board of Control, [Dublin], to Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke Northumberland, [Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Dublin], recommending Denis Crow to succeed Lott Corboy sheriff as lockkeeper on the Limerick Navigation.]

There is also a letter dated 2 June 1830 [CSO/RP/1830/836]

from James Saurin, J Armit, and Henry R Paine, [Directors General of Inland Navigation], Navigation Office, [Dublin], to Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke Northumberland, [Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Dublin], recommending dismissal of Simon Johnston, lockkeeper on the Limerick Navigation, for irregularities and for deception; asking to employ Michael Gully in his stead, for Stg£9-4-9 per annum.

Gully’s Lock is at Gillogue, on the central canal section known as the Plassey–Errina Canal.

Gillogue lock (OSI 25″ ~1900)

 

 

 

The Church of the Sacred Heart, Roscommon

So there you are, en route from Kingsbridge railway station in Dublin to Westport in Co Mayo. Or, as it might be, from Westport to Dublin. Either way, the journey takes at least three hours.

What you would like, of course, is to lengthen the journey by making a little stop along the way. In particular, you would like to stop in Roscommon to see the Church of the Sacred Heart. You could get off your train, visit the church and then catch the next train. You might even be able to do the same in Castlerea.

That is according to Senator Terry Leyden of Fianna Fáil. Now that the Shannon stopover, which hijacked transatlantic passengers en route to Dublin, is no more, the good Senator proposes an equivalent for the railways.

The Newry bypass

I hesitate to criticise the Newry & Portadown Branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, admirable folk who conduct regular work parties improving the Newry Canal. So perhaps I should say that I disagree with them instead — at least on the proposal for a Southern Relief Road, aka bypass, around Newry, linking “the Warrenpoint Dual Carriageway to the A1 Dublin/ Belfast Road“.

Such a bypass is a very good idea and, of course, far better than the insane Narrow Water handsacrosstheborder project. But the new road must cross  the Newry River and the Newry Ship Canal, and I would be vastly surprised if there were any economic justification for the cost of an opening section or for the disruption that each opening would cause to traffic. Certainly six or twelve sailing vessels would no longer be able to reach the Albert Basin in Newry, but the greatest good of the greatest number should surely prevail.

I can’t see that the absence of sailing pleasure craft from Newry would in any  way diminish the heritage or historic value of the ship canal or the basin, and they are of course entirely irrelevant to the stillwater canal.

A spokesman from the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland” says that

The IWAI was formed in 1954 to stop the building of low bridges on the River Shannon. Fortunately this campaign was successful otherwise there would be no hire boats on the Shannon today. Think of the loss of revenue. This should be a lesson to the bridge builders in Newry.

This is rubbish, for two reasons. First, sailing vessels on Carlingford Lough are never going to be available for hire on the Newry Canal, so their inability to reach Albert Basin would have little effect.

Second, the IWAI campaign on the Shannon was notably unsuccessful. Instead of swivelling bridges that would allow masted vessels through, the Shannon now has fixed bridges (Banagher, Shannonbridge, Athlone) and lifting bridges (Roosky, Tarmonbarry) that lift enough to allow motor cruisers through, but not enough for sailing vessels.

Ruth Delany [in Ireland’s Inland Waterways: celebrating 300 years Appletree Press, Belfast 2004] says that the IWAI Shannon campaign resulted in there being a minimum clearance of 4.3m on the Shannon, which is a long way from the 35m that the Newry & Portadown folk are seeking. The only Shannon bridge providing that clearance is Portumna, a swivel bridge, which (unlike the others mentioned above) was not — or its ancestor was not — built by the Shannon Commissioners.

By using the Shannon as a model, the N&P folk have actually weakened their case: the 9m clearance suggested for the Newry bypass is more than twice what the Shannon provides.

 

Solving Brexit

The Grauniad has the solution: a home for Brexiteers.

Ireland’s mystical waterway

Mystical logo

Perhaps you’ve noticed an outbreak of strange stickers on Shannon hireboats, proclaiming that the river is “Ireland’s mystical waterway”. Cynics will dismiss this as just more marketing bollocks, in this case associated with the claim that the Shannon, which is in the middle of Ireland, is part of something called “Ireland’s Ancient East“. I do wish that, when marketing dudes get these brainwaves, they’d keep them to themselves.

But wait! What if we’re all wrong? What if the Shannon really is a mystical waterway? After all, wasn’t there recently a miracle in Athlone?

Mind you, you may need an encounter with spirits yourself after reading that lot: the spirits that come in 70cl bottles.

 

Woodman, don’t spare that tree

I have updated my recent post about the overgrowth of trees on the Shannon–Erne Waterway to welcome today’s news that “tree trimming and hedge cutting will be carried out at various locations on the Shannon-Erne Waterway” between September 2018 and February 2019.

I hope that “trimming” is a polite understatement and that the trees will be cut right back to, or beyond, the edge of the waterway.