If you’re feeling the need of something to depress you, troll on over to the website of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and download the six PDF sections of the third Peace Monitoring Report. Written by Dr Paul Nolan, it is an extremely impressive piece of work — and a welcome counter to the witterings of the peaceprocess feelgoodistas who are so prominent on 2RN these days.
If you would prefer a summary, here is Liam Clarke’s account in the Belfast Telegraph, and here is his commentary; Tomboktu and others pointed to some problems with the headline on the first piece, but I’m more concerned that the focus on education in the headline on Clarke’s account may distort perceptions of what the report and, indeed, the rest of Clarke’s article are really about.
The report uses indicators grouped into four domains:
- the sense of safety
- cohesion and sharing
- political progress.
I didn’t find much that was cheering in any of them. Nolan lists ten key points:
- The moral basis of the 1998 peace accord has evaporated
- The absence of trust has resulted in an absence of progress
- There has been some increase in polarisation
- A culture war is being talked into existence
- The City of Culture year presented a different understanding of culture
- Failure lies in wait for young working-class Protestant males
- Front line police have been the human shock absorbers for failures elsewhere
- The rebalancing of inequalities unbalances unionism
- At grassroots level the reconciliation impulse remains strong
- No one picks up the tab.
Only the fifth and ninth offer any good news. But, from a waterways perspective, I was struck by the complete irrelevance of the proposed reconstruction of the Ulster Canal, the Clones Sheugh, to solving any of these problems. Yet Waterways Ireland, around whose neck this dead albatross has been hung, is the largest of the cross-border bodies and the sheugh is the largest capital project proposed to be undertaken by any of them. If the Irish government wants to do something to solve the real and continuing problems of Northern Ireland, as outlined in the Peace Monitoring Report, couldn’t it find something more useful to do?
Incidentally, I have not been able to find coverage of the report on the websites of the Irish Times, Irish Independent or Irish Examiner, although that may reflect poor searching on my part rather than any lack of interest on theirs.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Foreign parts, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Non-waterway, People, Politics, Restoration and rebuilding, Sources, Tourism, Ulster Canal, waterways
Tagged Belfast Telegraph, boats, canal, Clones, Community relations Council, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, Erne, Liam Clarke, Limerick, lock, lost, Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland, Paul Nolan, Peace Monitoring Report, sheugh, Ulster Canal, Waterways Ireland
From Google’s Ngram viewer (more here):
[Sorry, Google: couldn’t get the embedding to work properly. WordPress’s whitelist omits Google, though maps seem to work OK. Here’s the original.]
The growth in the use of “Heritage” with an initial capital is particularly interesting. I can think of three possible reasons:
- that more organisations, eg The Heritage Council, use the word in their titles
- that the word is increasingly used as an abstract noun at the start of sentences like “Heritage is important”
- that the word is increasingly used as an attributive adjective at the start of sentences like “Heritage apples should be preserved”.
Traditional, personal uses (like “My heritage from my ancestors …”) are, I think, less likely to require initial capital letters. That in turn might suggest that Google’s Ngram viewer is reflecting a new(ish) set of meanings for the word and might lead us to ask what that new(ish) usage is (or was) intended to achieve.
It might also lead us to ask whether an even newer concept might now be more useful: one that would dissuade well-meaning folk from preserving and displaying context-free old tat and persuade them to find and record information instead.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Canals, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Irish inland waterways vessels, Natural heritage, Operations, People, Politics, Rail, Restoration and rebuilding, Sea, Sources, Steamers, Tourism, Waterways management
Tagged barge, boats, bridge, canal, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, Dublin, Grand Canal, Grand Canal Dock, Ireland, lock, lost, Naomh Eanna, Operations, Ringsend, Shannon, steamer, vessels, workboat
Parteen Villa Weir is sending large amounts of water down the original channel of the Shannon, and over the Falls of Doonass, to draw water off from the upper reaches of the river.
The footbridge at Castleconnell
Above the bridge
The downstream side of the bridge
A bumpy ride
At normal levels the bottom of the wall is several feet above the water
Levels below Parteen Villa have not yet reached those of 2009 and the channel can probably take more before folk get flooded.
The Old River Shannon site has some photos taken at Parteen Villa Weir.
Posted in Built heritage, Canals, Charles Wye Williams, Drainage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Natural heritage, Operations, Safety, Shannon, Sources, Tourism, Water sports activities, waterways, Waterways management, Weather
Tagged boats, bridge, canal, Castleconnell, Clare, ESB, floods, flow, Ireland, Killaloe, Limerick, lost, O'Briensbridge, Operations, Parteen Villa Weir, quay, Shannon, turf, vessels, water level, waterways, Waterways Ireland, weir