Tag Archives: Erne Canal

Enda gets confused

In the Dáil on 19 June 2012, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin (Cork South Central) complained that there was not enough northsouthery:

[…] We have had good relations since the Good Friday Agreement and there have been good initiatives under the various North-South bodies and agencies that were subsequently established, from InterTradeIreland to the Food Safety Promotion Board and from Tourism Ireland to Waterways Ireland. In the early days, these had concrete, substantive, project-based achievements that delivered considerable momentum. Nothing of that calibre is in evidence currently.

With the British Government and the Northern Executive, will the Taoiseach commit to examining the North-South agenda seriously, in particular the review of North-South bodies, which has been waiting for some time to be signed off on? What are the conclusions of the review and what is the Government’s response to an additional North-South agency?

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (FG, Mayo) replied:

There was no conclusion at the meeting on Friday about additional bodies. Clearly, there were a number of issues outstanding in regard to some of the existing bodies. For instance, the Minister, Deputy Deenihan, committed to working with his counterpart in respect of the continued planning of the Erne Canal, which has been an issue for a very long time. There is no funding for it now, but there is no reason to believe one cannot put in place a strategy and a plan to open it. It would have enormous implications for tourism.

For “Erne” read “Ulster”: the NSMC decided not to extend Waterways Ireland’s remit so Ireland’s most insane current canal proposal is not on WI’s things-to-do list. The Ulster Canal is only rhe second most insane current canal proposal, although there is a new competitor entering the field.


The disappearance of the Erne Canal

In February 2011 I provided a link to a website about the most insane inland waterway ever proposed in Ireland (at least in recent years: watch this space!), the “Erne Canal” that was to link Belleek to Ballyshannon and the Atlantic. The website seems to have disappeared or died, perhaps reflecting an outbreak of post-tigerian realism amongst the enthusiasts for northsouthery. But if it reappears, perhaps someone will let me know. I have copies of the various documents that were downloadable from the site.

Some hours later: I spoke too soon. See Comments below: the site is back up. Perhaps it was a temporary glitch on tinterweb.

The proposal is still insane, though.

Something in the water?

Readers may have realised that I don’t think much of the proposal to restore or rebuild the Ulster Canal. But I have to admit that it is not the most insane canal restoration proposal to have been made in the last few years. Even the restoration of the Strabane Canal doesn’t merit that accolade.

No: the outright winner has to be the Erne Canal proposal. Happily, despite support from Mary Coughlan, TD for the area and Tánaiste (deputy prime minister), the proposal doesn’t seem to have got anywhere.

What do all three of these proposals have in common?

Northsouthery, that’s what.