Tag Archives: Lower Bann

Waterways Ireland salary reductions

Annex E of the Waterways Ireland Corporate Plan 2011–2013 [PDF] ssets out the Efficiency Savings Delivery Plan:

This Delivery Plan describes the measures Waterways Ireland will implement to achieve its target savings for 2011–2013.

Efficiency Programme

The Body will realise total efficiencies of £5,229,000/€6,377,000 from 2011-2013 as shown in the Total Efficiency Table below. […]

One problem for WI is that it expects to have to increase its pension costs by €1,175,000 over the three years, which means that WI actually has to save about €7.5 million over three years. It is showing a “Reduction in Capital Spend” of €3,102,ooo over the three years, plus reductions in Admin of €1,637,000 and in Resource of €2,813,000.

Here is how WI intends to achieve the Admin savings (€1,637,000 over three years):

Increase control in administration including negotiation of reductions in rates for Back Office Managed Services, new mobile phone contract and overtime control.

And the Resource savings (€2,813,000 over three years):

Controls over maintenance costs including lockkeepers agreement, salary reductions in Ireland and overtime control.

That looks as if most of the Resource savings are going to come from the wages bill; that in turn suggests that other costs have already been cut. The Resource reductions are allocated to waterways. In descending order of size the total figures for the three-year period are:

  • Grand Canal €910,000
  • Shannon Navigation €662,000
  • Royal Canal €503,000
  • Barrow Navigation €387,000
  • Shannon–Erne Waterway €232,000
  • Erne System €70,000
  • Lower Bann €69,000



Unionist pressure on Waterways Ireland …

… increased today as leading academic and commentator Professor Billy McWilliams called for an Olympic event to be held at Portglenone. Professor McWilliams, widely regarded as a leadership figure within the Ulster Scots cultural movement, said that the synchronised swimming could be held in the Lower Bann (where navigation is managed by Waterways Ireland, a North-South Body). Professor McWilliams said:

Now it will nat hiv passed yer notice thit the Inglish hiv the Olympics nixt year, fur they hivnae stapped bangin’ oan aboot it in their papers an’ oan the Television. Ah hiv noted thit events an’ the like arenae entirely based in London, wi’ sailin’ at Cows, Fitba in Cardiff an’ Glasgow fur example. Howiver try as Ah might Ah cannae fine a single event in oor ain wee country. Ye wud think that they might at laist hiv threw us the shootin’ at things oor the hittin’ eacho’er, buy it wud appear we dinnae even warrent thon.

He pointed to the excellent facilities available:

An area of the Bann will be roped off for the competition preventing intrusion by anglers and/or perverts. Folk will be able to watch it from the marina, or up on the bridge, or the car park beside the Wild Duck.

There are two changing rooms in the community centre, wan for men and wan for women, and the hall could be turned into a media centre (no wi-fi, but folk could bring their dongle yokes). There is also a small, but clean, kitchen which provides tea making facilities. We have a right mobile phone signal, several well stocked shops and a rake of B&Bs.

Given that WI’s budgetary allocation from the Free State has been cut, and that the ratio between contributions from the two jurisdictions is fixed, the extra cost of staging an Olympic event might cause difficulty for Waterways Ireland. However, Professor McWilliams is known to be a doughty campaigner ….


The Clones Canal (the first part of the Ulster Canal to be abandoned)

Waterways Ireland intends to build a canal to Clones at the instigation of the Irish government. I believe that this proposal is an unjustifiable waste of money, at a time when public expenditure (and especially capital expenditure) is being cut.

This page provides links to a series of pages about aspects of the proposal. At time of writing, there are four pages up; there will be more, concentrating on the economic and financial aspects.

I have had limited access to documents:

  • every debate in the Dáil or Seanad in which the Ulster Canal was mentioned
  • every debate and committee session in the Northern Ireland Assembly in which the Ulster Canal was mentioned
  • every debate in the House of Lords and the House of Commons in which the Ulster Canal was mentioned
  • the minutes of meetings of the North/South Ministerial Council in Inland Waterways Sectoral Format and relevant minutes of Plenary Format meetings
  • the documents available on the websites of Waterways Ireland and of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Neither the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs nor Waterways Ireland has answered all the questions I asked them. Accordingly, I may have got some things wrong, and I would welcome correction. I would also welcome copies of confidential documents: this could become WikiLocks.