Last week the Clones Regeneration Partnership Chairman called for politicians to support Craggy Island’s Canal to Clones. That’s the scheme being pushed by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs (which funds the Partnership’s Project Coordinator).
Then Brian Cassells, former President of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, joined the campaign, with an article in the Northern Standard. Happily, its Comments section is working (it was my fault that my comment was posted twice: I tried to edit it but ended up with two almost identical versions).
The phenomenal success of the Shannon/Erne waterway is largely down to the far sighted vision of the late Charles Haughey who had the dream of what has become an enormous tourist success.
I have argued that the success of the SEW is often over-stated and that much of the prosperity of the region is attributable to the businesses set up by Sean Quinn.
But there is another point that the Clones Canal’s fans overlook. According to askaboutireland.ie,
The £30 million funding [for the Shannon–Erne Waterway] came mainly from the European Union Regional Development Fund, the International Fund for Ireland and the E.S.B.
I have not been able to find any exact breakdown of who contributed how much, but it does seem that some large proportion of the costs was not paid by the taxpayers of either Ireland or Northern Ireland. That makes for a much better return on whatever amount of capital they employed.
This time, though, that’s not going to apply. The days of free Euroloot are over, and I haven’t heard that either the IFI or the ESB will be contributing.
Maybe the good people in Craggy Island are relying on winning the lottery?