Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (893)

Bernard J. Durkan


1014 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when the Royal Canal will be fully navigable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1986/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

The issue raised by the Deputy about the works on the Royal Canal aimed at re-opening the waterway from Dublin to the River Shannon is the day to day responsibility of Waterways Ireland, a North-South Implementation Body for inland waterways, set up under the British-Irish Agreement.

The Royal Canal is open to navigation between Dublin and Abbeyshrule, County Longford, a distance of 70 miles. Works to complete the restoration of the remaining 20 miles are in progress; the construction of five road bridges to replace existing culverts, lockgate installation, reconstruction of bog embankments, the provision of additional water supplies, as well as minor bank repairs.

Under the National Development Plan 2000 — 2006, €15 million, in 1999 terms, has been allocated to the Royal Canal restoration project. Waterways Ireland also informs me that it hopes to complete this project on time, subject to ongoing review in the light of other capital investment priorities and value-for-money trends in overall construction costs affecting the civil engineering industry.