Monaghan Town meanwhile got €57,600 to clean a section of the Ulster canal, and carry out appropriate planting and turn this section of Ulster Canal Greenway into a haven for wildlife […].
From The Anglo-Celt 31 October 2019
According to Northern Sound, Monaghan County Council wants the Monaghan Minister for Fairytales, Heather Humphreys, to meet her Northern Ireland counterpart, the Minister for Marching Bands [and boxing clubs, football stadiums and various other things about which MLAs ask questions: they’re as bad as TDs], to do something about the Clones Sheugh.
I suspect this means that FF, and perhaps the citizens of Monaghan, have realised that, despite the Momentous Day on the Ulster Canal [oops: sorry; not that one, this one], the Clones Sheugh has been hijacked by Co Cavan and is not actually going to reach Co Monaghan in the foreseeable future [which means until the next round of election promises].
As far as I can see, the deal was that Sinn Féin would shut up about the Sheugh provided that they got photos of activity before the UKoGB&NI general election. By nicking the money from other navigations in WI’s budget, the Minister for Fairytales was able to deliver the photos. And, as far as Google Alerts can tell, there hasn’t been a word about the Sheugh from the Shinners, north or south, since then. Of course I could be wrong about the deal and, if both departments will send me their full files on the subject, I’ll be happy to use that evidence to correct the story.
Now, though, a Fianna Fáil councillor in Monaghan has
… put forward the motion requesting the Ministers to meet to advance the project and asking Sinn Féin and Fine Gael members of the council to arrange the meeting urgently.
I don’t suppose he’d be trying to embarrass the parties that made the deal, would he? [If they did make a deal, of course, which they may not have, but we won’t know until the departments send on their files.]
SF has 7 members on Monaghan County Council, FG 5, FF 4 and there are two non-party members.
Speaking of parties, or their aftermath, a thought struck me:
Waterways Ireland is being forced to pay €2 million to dredge the River Finn to Castle Saunderson. This new sheugh is to be called the Ulster Canal.
Waterways Ireland’s wicked stepmother, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has failed to convince the government to come up with any money to fund this insane project. It has therefore decided to force Waterways Ireland to pay for it, at a time when WI’s budget has been cut by 31% over the past six years. That suggests to me that the parent departments, DAHG and the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, are prepared to let the other waterways go hang in favour of a pointless extension of the Erne navigation.
As the project will be funded from Waterways Ireland’s own resources, additional Exchequer funding will not be required.
Not that Waterways Ireland has any spare money, and it has very few surplus assets. Some years ago DAHG’s predecessor proposed to sell Plot 8, in the Grand Canal Docks at Ringsend, to fund the Clones Sheugh, but the property collapse put a stop to that. It’s still the most valuable saleable asset and it was never clear to me how the property of Waterways Ireland could be seized by its wicked stepmother.
Waterways Ireland has to come up with €1.4 million of the €2 million cost of Saunderson’s Sheugh this year. It hopes to get €900,000 of that from the sale of property. Apart from Plot 8, it has only three surplus assets:
And that lot adds to €890,000. Add a few quid from the recent sale of old barges and you’ve got €900,000.
Given the details of the Hatch Bar in this Lisney PDF, I presume that what Waterways Ireland is selling is the freehold [but I’m not sure about this: if, Gentle Reader, you know more about it, please leave a Comment below]. Whoever buys it will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping to dig a ditch in Co Cavan.
Of the cost of land to be acquired for a canal to Clones:
We understand that the costs of land acquisition are based on the purchase of 46 hectares of land (equivalent to approx. 114 acres), the majority of which is poor quality agricultural land for a total estimated cost of €6m. This is equivalent to an average price for acquisition of just over €52,500 per acre, although the total acquisition costs would also include legal costs associated with the process.
Nevertheless, an average price of €52,500 would appear to be very high compared with the average price at which agricultural land is currently sold in the area. If an average price of €25,000 per acre (including legal costs) was applied, then total land acquisition costs would be reduced to €2.85m. This is still a generous assumption. The average RoI price of agricultural land in 2014 was less than €10,000. [Irish Farmers’ Journal Agricultural Land Price Report 2013 January 2014]
That’s from Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Restoring the Ulster Canal from Lough Erne to Clones: Updated Business Case February 2015. Hats off to Fitzpatrick Associates for checking and for leaving the information in the final report. I have written to Waterways Ireland to ask for more information:
I would be grateful if you could let me have a list of
the names and addresses of the owners of the land you propose to buy to build a canal to Clones
map references or maps showing the location of that land
the size and nature of each plot of land you propose to acquire
the amount you propose to pay for each plot
the justification for each such amount.
Actually, I have the list of landowners in Co Monaghan, because it’s in the planning application. I can’t find the equivalent on the NI Planning Service’s website because I can’t work out how to search by applicant.
The stony grey soil of Monaghan must be worth more than one might think. Either that or this proposal is a steaming dunghill.
I originally had a rather more rude heading …. The Minister for Waterways and Other Stuff has decided to have the River Finn dredged to
aid her reelection campaign shut up the Shinners promote peace and prosperity. The “shutting up the Shinners” bit means pretending that this is a restoration of the Ulster Canal, whereas it avoids the canal altogether in favour of dredging the river as far as Castle Saunderson, in Co Cavan, instead of going to Clones, in Co Monaghan. According to NorthernSound
Minister Heather Humphreys says the project will provide a wonderful recreational facility for local communities and will act as a significant draw for tourists.
That, minister, is a load of old bollocks: the locals have plenty of waterway already and the tourists are not going to be drawn by another bit of river. Still, Saunderson’s Sheugh is better than the Clones Sheugh, but it is worrying that
The project is expected to cost in the region of €2 million euro and will be funded by Waterways Ireland.
According to its Business Plan 2015, approved by the North South Ministerial Council on 18 December 2014, Waterways Ireland’s budget for sheughery in 2015 is €1000. So, if it is to spend €2 million on Saunderson’s Sheugh, and if the Treasure-Seekers have failed to find any money, will this mean that WI’s budget for maintaining and repairing the existing navigations will be cut?
I see that
The Minister says construction should begin in the final quarter of 2015.
I wonder when the next election is.
Saunderson’s Sheugh, the latest manifestation of the proposed reconstruction of the Ulster Canal, would run along a border for much of its length. That’s the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but there is one important border it does not seem to cross [as far as I can see]: that between counties Cavan and Monaghan.
Has Cavan stolen the sheugh from its northern neighbour? I’m sure that folk in the Monaghan part of the Dáil constituency of Cavan-Monaghan won’t mind, but I wonder whether the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who is a TD from the Monaghan end and is in charge of Sheughery, is concerned that her Monaghan colleague Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin [Sinn Féin] might turn the situation to his party’s advantage. On the other hand, from Sinn Féin’s viewpoint, the question might be whether any sheugh is better than none.
Of course, as soon as a coalition of Sinn Féin and the Éamon Ó Cuív wing of Fianna Fáil takes power, we’ll have the entire Ulster Canal built immediately. And there will be grants for growing flax, carrying corn to Dublin and draining the Shannon [which might mean that there are no southern boats to visit the Ulster Canal].
I should say, though, that Davy, in two reports out today, is not very worried about what Sinn Féin might do: Finfacts story here; Davy here; the two reports here and here [each of which should open as a PDF; if that doesn’t work, use the links on the Davy or the Finfacts page].
Map: OpenStreetMap; copyright explained here.