Tag Archives: northsouthery

Public sector cutbacks

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, which is ultimately in charge of waterways, has published an organisation chart [one-page PDF]. It shows that the department has a minister and a minister of state and a secretary general.

At the next level down there are five main divisions:

  • Corporate Affairs
  • Arts, Film, Music, Cultural Institutions
  • Heritage
  • Gaeilge, Gaeltacht & Islands
  • Central Translation Unit & Placenames.

Each of the first three is headed by an assistant secretary; the fourth has a Director of Irish and the fifth a plain director. The department is spread between offices in Galway, Killarney, Wexford and four locations in Dublin.

So where, I hear you ask, are waterways looked after? We have to come down to the next level, the principal officers, to find out. And there, we find that Corporate Affairs has three POs, one of whom is responsible for

HR, Strategic Planning, Corporate Governance, N/S Co-ordination & Waterways Irl.

That’s quite a lot of things for one person to be responsible for.


Waterways for peace

From The Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report: Number One by Paul Nolan, published by the Community Relations Council, 6 Murray Street, Belfast BT1 6DN, on 29 February 2012, and downloadable here:

The North–South Ministerial Council sits at the apex of six cross-border bodies, the remit of which is to ‘develop consultation, co-operation and action within the island of Ireland’ on matters of mutual interest. In practical terms this means the management of overlapping concerns on areas such as trade, tourism, waterways, fisheries and transport. Very little political controversy attends the operations of these bodies, and for the most part their activities are conducted in a brisk and business-like way.

The general conclusions of the report are more depressing. The Council lists these ten key points:

1. The political institutions are secure
2. The level of violence is down
3. Paramilitarism still remains a threat
4. The policing deal is not secure
5. The recession is impacting upon the equality agenda
6. Youth unemployment is potentially destabilising
7. A new confident and neutral urban culture has emerged
8. Northern Ireland is still a very divided society
9. There is no strategy for reconciliation
10. No solution has been found for dealing with the past.

But then the southern state hasn’t managed 10 either.




The Irish Times says that there is to be a meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council on Friday 18 November 2011, with the A5 road on the agenda. Perhaps there will be some news about how the proposed Clones Canal is to be funded.

Something in the water?

Readers may have realised that I don’t think much of the proposal to restore or rebuild the Ulster Canal. But I have to admit that it is not the most insane canal restoration proposal to have been made in the last few years. Even the restoration of the Strabane Canal doesn’t merit that accolade.

No: the outright winner has to be the Erne Canal proposal. Happily, despite support from Mary Coughlan, TD for the area and Tánaiste (deputy prime minister), the proposal doesn’t seem to have got anywhere.

What do all three of these proposals have in common?

Northsouthery, that’s what.