Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
Question 42: To ask the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the mileage of non-navigable canal here; the geographical areas where such exists; his plans to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23847/09]
In replying to the Deputy's Question, it is necessary to distinguish between canals that are under the control of Waterways Ireland and those which are not. In relation to those canals under the control of Waterways Ireland, it is further necessary to distinguish between non-navigable canals that could be restored at some stage in the future and those which are obsolete because they have been replaced by a parallel navigation. For the sake of completeness, I am also including in my reply details of some other navigations that are primarily river-based, rather than being canals per se.
The following are the details requested by the Deputy in respect of non-navigable stretches of canals that are within the control of Waterways Ireland and are being or could be restored: Grand Canal · Kilbeggan Branch (8.2 miles long) in Co. Offaly and Co. Westmeath.
· Part of Naas & Corbally Branch (Corbally Extension) (4.4 miles long) in Co. Kildare.
· Barrow Line Part of Mountmellick Branch (0.25 miles long) in Co. Kildare (remaining 11 miles filled in).
· Part of Royal Canal (11 miles long) in Co. Longford, currently under restoration.
· Longford Branch (3 miles long) in Co. Longford.
The Royal Canal main line is currently under restoration and the remaining work necessary to return it to full navigation between Dublin and the Shannon is due for completion in 2010. Ulster Canal
· 46 miles long in Co. Cavan, Co. Monaghan, Co. Fermanagh and Co. Armagh. Approval has been given to Waterways Ireland to restore the stretch between Lough Erne and Clones. Present indications are that this stretch could be re-opened by 2013.
The following are details of canals that became redundant following parallel works on the Shannon Navigation in the period 1839 – 1846, or following the construction of Ardnacrusha in the 1920s:
Park Canal (1 mile long) in Limerick City.
Errina-Plassey Canal (6.9 miles long) in Co. Clare.
Hamilton Canal (1.9 miles long) in Co. Offaly.
Athlone Canal (0.9 miles long) in Athlone.
Roosky Canal (1.2 miles long) in Co. Roscommon.
A number of these are maintained as linear parks by agreement with the local authority or other local agency.
It is intended, subject to availability of resources, to carry out feasibility studies and preliminary designs in relation to the Longford Branch, the Kilbeggan Branch and the Corbally Extension, along with extensions to Annagh Upper near Dowra on the Shannon Navigation and to Lough Oughter on the Erne System with a view to possible re-opening. Consideration will also be given to the carrying out of preliminary analysis and assessment of the Mountmellick Branch, as well as the Boyne Navigation (which is primarily a river navigation) and the extension towards Mohill on the Rinn River, as future possibilities for restoration.