Tag Archives: spending

A sense of proportion

Waterways Ireland’s funding comes from Ireland [RoI] and Northern Ireland [NI] in the ratio 85:15. I understand that the ratio reflects the length of WI-run waterway in each jurisdiction, although I am not sure how length is measured on lakes.

The proportions of boats in the two jurisdictions are not 85:15. As of December 2013 there were 5570 boats on the Erne Register and 8816 on the Shannon Register. These numbers may or may not reflect the numbers of boats on the waterways as (a) there may be unregistered boats and (b) folk may not always deregister boats that have moved off the navigation. I do not know how many boats there are on the Lower Bann; boats on the Shannon–Erne Waterway should be on either the Erne or the Shannon Register.

Waterways Ireland reckoned that there were 520 boats on the Grand, Royal and Barrow at the end of 2013. Adding them to the Shannon number gives us

  • RoI 9336
  • NI (excl Lr Bann) 5570.

The ratio is RoI 63, NI 37.

On programme costs, though, matters are otherwise. Granted that the 2011 figures, the most recent available, may not be representative of long-term average costs: the Royal has not been reopened long enough for us to get such a long-term average, and the 2011 figure may be unusually high.

The other difficulty is with the allocation of the costs of the Shannon–Erne Waterway. I have arbitrarily divided it 50/50 between the two jurisdictions, although they probably exaggerates the proportion attributable to NI.

Shannon + Royal + Grand + Barrow + ½ SEW = €7275000

Erne + Lower Bann + ½ SEW = €807000

The ratio is RoI 90%, NI 10%.


  • funding: NI 15%
  • number of boats: NI 37%
  • spending: NI 10%.

All subject to caveats.

No particular point: I just thought it was interesting.