Tag Archives: Grand Canal Dock

Maureen O’Sullivan asks sensible questions …

I am happy to report that Maureen O’Sullivan TD [Ind, Dublin Central] asked some sensible written questions in the Dáil on 15 January 2014.

Under the rather odd heading “Waterways Ireland Remit“, she asked Jimmy Deenihan [FG, Kerry North/West Limerick; Minister for the City of Culture]

[…] if he will include work on land maps to determine what land abutting the canals is owned privately, by Waterways Ireland, the Railway Procurement Agency, Iarnrod Éireann, Dublin City Council, Office of Public Works or other; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The minister replied:

I am informed that Waterways Ireland already has an ongoing programme to modernise historic canal ownership maps and register navigation property in its ownership.

She put another question to Jimmy Deenihan under the same heading; you can see the link between the two questions:

[…] having regard to the prospective re-opening of the Royal Canal towpath at Portland Place in Summer 2014 further to the refurbishment of the collapsed wall at Portland Place and having regard also to the Spencer Dock Greenway Project and the re-lining works to be carried out at the sixth level, if he will direct Waterways Ireland to commission a strategic environment assessment for a new canal-side walkway along the south side of the sixth level of the Royal Canal at Phibsborough from Shandon Gardens to the railway bridge at the seventh lock with a new pedestrian crossing (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The only problem with this is that even getting an environmental assessment done is likely to strain WI’s budget at the moment, so it’s not a good time to be suggesting new expenditure. However, it didn’t matter in this case, as Jimmy Deenihan explained:

I am informed by Waterways Ireland that it does not own the lands on the southside of the Royal Canal between Shandon Gardens and the 7th lock, at Liffey Junction and therefore will not be commissioning a Strategic Environment Assessment for a new canalside walkway.

She also asked Alan Kelly [Labour, Tipperary North] about that:

[…] noting that it is the intention of the National Transport Authority to pursue a cycling and walking greenway along the Royal Canal in Dublin city, if he will ask Iarnród Eireann, the Railway Procurement Agency and Dublin City Council to assess the viability of opening a new walkway along the Royal Canal, 6th level, from Shandon Gardens to the 7th lock with a new footbridge at the 7th lock railway crossing linking to the existing Greenway route; if, in particular, this option will be explored alongside any re-lining work that might be undertaken by Waterways Ireland along that level.

He said:

The development of walking and cycling facilities within the Greater Dublin Area is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with the relevant local authority, which is Dublin City Council in this case.

The NTA provides funding to local authorities for a range of schemes to benefit pedestrians, including new walkways, under the Sustainable Transport Management Grants Programme. Accordingly, I have sent your request to the NTA and have asked them to reply to you directly in relation to the above matter.

I’m all in favour of getting money from other people to pay for waterways.

Finally, under the heading of Inland Waterways Development, she had another question for Jimmy Deenihan:

[…] if he will explore all possible options within current fiscal constraints to advance and develop the potential of the Royal and Grand canal lines that pass through Dublin city; if he will establish an inter-agency group on the Dublin City reaches of the Royal and Grand canals; if he will explore ways to advance their development, examining funding options, including existing funding streams and the leveraging of funding from other sources and the possibility of EU funding which may be available.

I might say at this stage that I don’t see why TDs are asking ministers about stuff that they could find out themselves by asking WI directly. It’s not as though they’re going to get a lot of favourable publicity by doing so: this isn’t the PAC grilling a hospital or charity board and the meeja aren’t really interested.

Anyway, Jimmy Deenihan replied:

As the Deputy may be aware, the Dublin City Canals Study [PDF] was launched on 20th July 2010. This was prepared by consultants on behalf of Waterways Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Dublin Docklands Development Authority and Dublin City Council. The study examined the existing activities on the Royal and Grand Canals and identified an overall vision for the development of the City Canals within the M50. I am advised that following on from the study an Operations Liaison Group plus two sub-groups (one for the Royal Canal and one for the Grand Canal) were established and continue to meet to deliver the recommendations identified, within the current fiscal constraints.

I am informed that to complement the above study, Waterways Ireland engaged additional consultants to carry out a detailed study of Grand Canal Dock and Spencer Dock with the objective of producing a Master Plan, currently at draft stage, that realises their potential as a recreational amenity and a living, vibrant part of Dublin and its Docklands. Waterways Ireland will continue to work collaboratively to unlock the pivotal role of these two major docks and to attract funding to develop a maritime quarter within the city of Dublin.

I wasn’t very impressed by the Dublin City Canals Study, which didn’t seem to me to be rooted in actual conditions in Dublin. I will look forward to seeing the master plan for the two dock areas.

Anyway, that was a more sensible set of questions from Maureen O’Sullivan, and it kept her off the subject of Effin Bridge.

WI lifting boats

Waterways Ireland removed boats from Charlotte Quay in the Grand Canal Dock at Ringsend today.

being lifted_resize

Being lifted

getting ready_resize

Getting ready

pumps on quay_resize

Pumps on the quay

ready for the slings_resize

Ready for the slings

Thanks to Paul Quinn for the information and photos.

FF -v- SF on C18 economic development

More from the splendid KildareStreet.com, this time an actual Dáil debate, with real people speaking, on 30 May 2013. The debate was initiated by Micheál Martin [head honcho in FF, Cork South Central], who asked the minister …

… his plans for capital investment in Waterways Ireland in the coming year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

There are three odd aspects to that question.

The first is that Micheál Martin should already know that the capital expenditure allocation for WI within RoI for 2013 is €4 071 000: I can understand that he wouldn’t have wanted to plough through the vast wodges of budgetary bumpf, but I’m sure he would have read the highlights on this site.

The second oddity is that Micheál Martin must have known that the minister would not himself have any plans for capital expenditure: they would be WI’s plans.

The third oddity is that FF didn’t seem to have any particular reason for asking this question: the rest of the debate (see below) seems rather desultory. Could it be that it’s trying to reclaim the waterways limelight from the Shinners, who’ve been keeping an eye on WI dredging as well as on thon sheugh?

To be honest, it all seems a bit pointless: waterways may be interesting to me, and presumably to readers of this site, but they’re hardly of great national importance. A serious debate, by informed participants, might be useful, but (with all due respect to the contributors) there was little sign of that here.

Jimmy Deenihan did actually give some interesting, albeit minor, details about WI’s plans for this year. I omit the first two paras and the last, which are boring boilerplate bumpf that will be familiar to regular readers.

Jimmy Deenihan [FG, Kerry North/West Limerick]: While the Waterways Ireland 2013 business plan and budget is the subject of ongoing discussions with the co-sponsoring Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland and will require formal approval by the North-South Ministerial Council, I have provided an indicative funding allocation of €4.071 million to Waterways Ireland for capital projects in this jurisdiction in the coming year. This will facilitate capital works by Waterways Ireland in developing, restoring and improving infrastructure for water based and activity recreation and tourism, consolidating facilitates and improving access to the waterways across the navigations.

I am advised that the Waterways Ireland draft 2013 business plan has a development schedule providing for 1354 m of additional moorings across the navigations. Works planned within this jurisdiction include a range of major projects such as upgrading Bagenalstown Lock on the Barrow; provision of a slipway and stabilisation of the dock walls at Grand Canal Dock, dredging the Grand Canal; development of houseboat facilities at Lowtown and Sallins; lifting the bridge at Tullamore depot; bridge upgrades, works on weirs and locks on the Shannon; and commencement of work on the Belturbet Service Block on the Shannon Erne and purchase of plant and machinery.

I said that I would welcome information about what “lifting the bridge at Tullamore depot” means. The answer was provided in the Comments below; here is a photo of the bridge in question.

The (currently non-lifting) lifting bridge at Tullamore

The (currently non-lifting) lifting bridge at Tullamore

 

Most of the rest is unsurprising.

The FF follow-up came from Seán Ó Fearghaíl [FF, Kildare South], who said:

I welcome the many positive developments to which the Minister referred but one of our concerns is that since 2011 the funding available for Waterways Ireland has been cut from €35 million to approximately €32 million.

Studies over the years have shown that waterways tourism is one of the activities that is most likely to generate return visits. As a regular user of places like the Shannon Navigation, one never ceases to be amazed at the number of non-nationals one meets on that waterway who have been coming back to Ireland year in, year out. I wonder to what extent the funding the Minister has available to him should be augmented by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. These waterways are of immense value to the local populations privileged to live in the catchment area of each amenity, along with their huge tourism importance. What sort of interaction does the Minister have with tourism bodies north of the Border and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport? Is anything planned for the waterways under the auspices of The Gathering?

What has happened in Kildare this week? We had Bernard Durkan [FG, Kildare North] the other day and Clare Daly [Socialist Party, Dublin North, but originally from Newbridge, Co Kildare] a moment ago; now we have a new chap from Kildare South.

Anyway, it can’t have come as any surprise to Mr Ó Fearghaíl that WI’s budget has been cut: so has everybody else’s, and the budgets were announced last December. I note that he didn’t ask how the Clones Sheugh was to be funded, never mind the Cavan Sheugh to Lough Oughter. But his question is the sort that a journalist might ask: vague, unfocused, couched in generalities, lacking in evidence of research into the subject. I would like to know more about his “Studies over the years”, with particular reference to the balance between and the allocation of the costs and benefits of investment in waterways; generating return visits is not in itself terribly useful (I really do not want Great Aunt Maud here again).

Not that the minister offered many hard facts in his reply:

I have seen for myself the provision of moorings at Killaloe and Ballina. Those have made a major difference to both towns in different counties on either side of the Shannon. The result of that investment is obvious and local people would accept that.

As regards involvement from Fáilte Ireland, Waterways Ireland is augmenting Fáilte Ireland’s promotion of the waterways. Waterways Ireland is providing funding on an annual basis for the promotion of tourism on its waterways. It is a North-South body, which is also very important, because Tourism Ireland promotes the entire island and the waterways network of more than 1,000 navigable kilometres can really be pushed on an all-island basis and we are doing that. I have tried to minimise the reduction in funding for Waterways Ireland because of its North-South significance and its potential and considerable work has been done. We have improved facilities for tourists so we are now ready to proactively promote this great facility.

Any, like, figures? Statistics? References to analyses? How much of WI’s budget is being diverted to the tourism bods and what is the benefit?

Next (and last) up was Peadar Tóibín [SF, Meath West], with “now for something completely different“:

A number of groups are actively trying to create a green way along the Boyne from the estuary to its source. The Boyne is littered with internationally recognised heritage monuments and would be a fantastic tourist attraction that would bring people into the region. People who holiday in the region visit Trim Castle and Newgrange on coach trips and as ar result Meath does not get the full value of their tourism. The Boyne Canal runs from Navan to Drogheda. It is not covered by the Waterways Ireland network. Would the Minister agree that such a canal should be brought within the ambit of Waterways Ireland, along with other canals, and would he consider the funds that might be available to help with the development of such a green way along the River Boyne?

The minister’s reply is interesting:

We have no plans to extend the present 1,000 kilometres of navigable waterways. The focus of our investment in capital development will be from Clones to Lough Erne to the value of €35 million.

What? No Cavan Sheugh? No Kilbeggan, Longford or Mountmellick Branch?

Oh, and note that the figure of €35 million is being quoted for the Clones Sheugh, although the last estimate I had form WI was higher than that.

The minister continued:

As regards the green way, I do not have direct responsibility but any way I can help through Waterways Ireland, I will do so. As a keen cyclist and walker, I am all for encouraging green ways wherever possible. If the Deputy has a proposal I can forward to Waterways Ireland for discussion, I will gladly take it.

Well, well. A Monaghan greenway is being developed; why not a Clones greenway too, instead of an expensive canal?

Residential boating

Thanks to KildareStreet.com for alerting me to this written Dáil answer, to two questions, on Inland Waterways Development on 30 May 2013.

Clare Daly [Socialist Party, Dublin North]: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will engage with local stakeholders to develop a waterways strategy that facilitates those who want to live on houseboats.

Clare Daly [Socialist Party, Dublin North]: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will outline the contact he has had with Waterways Ireland to promote and facilitate houseboats as an alternative lifestyle choice, potential amenity and tourist asset.

Jimmy Deenihan [FG Kerry North/West Limerick]: I propose to take Questions Nos. 34 and 36 together. As the Deputy will be aware, I directly engage with Waterways Ireland through the Inland Waterways meetings of the North South Ministerial Council. I should say that officials in my Department also have ongoing engagement with Waterways Ireland and meet directly with the organisation on a regular basis. The issues referred to by the Deputy are operational matters for Waterways Ireland. However, I have been informed by Waterways Ireland that they have installed facilities for houseboats at Shannon Harbour and are in the process of developing facilities at Lowtown and Sallins.

I am also informed that Waterways Ireland is currently in negotiations in relation to the change of use of berths in Grand Canal Dock from short term mooring to long term mooring to facilitate houseboats. These developments are part of Waterways Ireland’s recognition of the potential amenity, tourism and lifestyle benefits that well managed houseboat locations with suitable houseboats can bring to the navigation network within its remit.

As regards engagement with local stakeholders in the development of a water strategy that facilitates houseboat dwellers, again this is an operational matter for Waterways Ireland. I encourage and support such engagement with local stakeholders. Waterways Ireland has informed me that they will continue to take into account the views of all its stakeholders when formulating policy in relation to the use of the waterways.

So “well managed houseboat locations with suitable houseboats”? Some current adopters of the “alternative lifestyle choice” may be worried about that. I don’t know what Ms Daly hoped to achieve there, but I don’t think Jimmy Deenihan was giving much away.

 

Quick! Duck!

The Thing from the deep

The Thing from the deep

South Dublin

Use a little wine for thy stomach's sake

The wine fleet

Incidentally, after visiting the dangerous shores of south Dublin, through the soulless canyons of lawyers’, accountants’ and tax-dodgers’ offices, I am led to wonder whether latte is Bucky for the bourgeoisie. What a ghastly place the area round the Grand Canal Dock has become.

Floating party venue

The Belfast Telegraph has a story about the death of a young man in Grand Canal Dock, Ringsend, Dublin. It says that he

[…] was last seen onboard a former German police river boat, which has been converted into a floating party venue.

I think the boat is Polizei 69, but I can find little information about its location or operations. The newspaper article is not clear how the young man’s having been on a boat was related to the accident.

GCD update

Paul Quinn has very kindly sent on some recent photos of the work in progress at the Grand Canal Dock in Dublin. Two of the photos show the strengthening of Hanover Quay and the third shows the new slipway, which is now complete and in use. I’ve added the photos towards the end of the existing GCD page here.

On wires and worked with steam*

Thanks again to Paul Quinn for another set of photographs, this time of the newly-installed wakeboarding system thingie in Grand Canal Dock, Dublin, which is to be opened on 9 March 2013.

Wakeboarding, as I understand it, involves dressing up in brightly coloured plastics, standing on a plank and being towed around behind a boat. I don’t myself see the appeal, being more the sedentary sort, but chacun a son gout, as the French don’t say, apparently, although why they’re supposed to know anything about it I don’t … but I digress. The wakeboarding system thingie seems to allow wakeboarding without a boat; it might also require less sea room.

A system was installed temporarily last year; there is information about it here. I don’t know whether that is the same system as has now been installed. You can read the environmental report here [PDF]. Waterways Ireland tells me that

Waterways Ireland has entered into a three year commercial operating licence agreement with Colin Harris T/A Wakedock Ltd., to place and operate a mobile wakeboarding system in Grand Canal Dock.

There seems to be an association between Wakedock and the Surfdock business in the Naomh Éanna, although Wakedock also has its own website.

I asked Waterways Ireland how much it was earning from this; it refused to tell me:

Waterways Ireland do not release license fees charged to individual commercial licence holders as this would be detrimental to our business interest in future license fee valuations.

DSCF0958

A tower tower

from grand canal theatre.

Looking from Grand Canal Theatre: note the white ramps

from hanover quay.

Seen from Hanover Quay

looking east towards ringsend

The ramps (looking east towards Ringsend)

looking south from hanover quay at ramps.

A close-up from Hanover Quay

looking south from hanover quay.approx.25 meters

The Naomh Éanna in the background

looking south from sea locks.aprox 50 meters

About 50m from the sea locks

looking west to gallery quay.

Looking west to Gallery Quay

ramp with dredger at charlotte quay.

Ramp in the foreground; excavator at Charlotte Quay in the background

ramps and far  line support

Ramps and western line support

ramps and new position of naomh eanna.

Naomh Éanne in its new position

Waterways Ireland tells me that:

When agreeing the location, consideration was given to maintaining access to the pump-out on Hanover Quay and also access to vessels wishing to enter via the lock gates. No detrimental impact on navigation for other users is anticipated.

WI kindly provided this map.

GCD wakeboarding map

GCD wakeboarding map

Semper aliquid novi Africam adferre, as my old grandmother used to say.

 

* see The Third Policeman

Dublin

Dublin City Public Libraries have some nice photos available online. The section on the Port of Dublin includes 1926 aerial photos of the Guinness wharf and of Spencer Dock (not busy) and Grand Canal Dock (including the section beyond the railway line, now filled in). There is also a photo of a steam barge at the Guinness wharf. In the Commercial Dublin section, I saw two businesses beside the Grand Canal, Ever Ready Batteries at Portobello and Gordon’s Fuels at Harold’s Cross.