Wednesday, 27 May 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. N. Treacy): The inland waterways currently under the control of the Office of Public Works are the Shannon Navigation, Grand Canal, Royal Canal, Barrow Navigation and Ballinamore/Ballyconnell Canal which links two great waterways — the Shannon and the Erne.
In relation to the Shannon Navigation, my long term proposals are to continue the developments already in progress to improve the capacity and general facilities of the navigation to Ballinasloe and to Lough Allen and the provision of improved mooring facilities at Banagher and Terryglass.
Since taking over the Grand and Royal Canals and Barrow Navigation in 1986 developments of these waterways have been along the lines of the management and development strategy report which was prepared on behalf of the Office of Public Works at the time of the takeover. The level of resources available has determined the progress which has been possible. The emphasis on the Royal Canal will be on opening access to the Liffey and restoring the sections between Mullingar and the River Shannon. I expect the Royal Canal will be open for navigation between Dublin and Mullingar early next year. Work which is in progress between Mullingar and Longford will take some years to complete. The main priorities on the Grand Canal  and Barrow Navigation which are already fully open for navigation will be to repair the bog embankments, principally in Co. Offaly and to further upgrade facilities generally on the system.
The Ballinamore/Ballyconnell Canal was vested in the Commissioners of Public Works under the Shannon Navigation Act, 1990. Work on restoring this waterway is well underway and due for completion by 1993. The Office of Public Works will then be responsible for the maintenance of this navigation along the lines of the other canals under its control.
A report on a National Waterways Strategy for other waterways (including disused canals) has been prepared for the Office of Public Works and is being examined at present. I hope to be able to make an announcement in relation to this report in the not too distant future.
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