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Waterways Issues

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (338)

Brendan Smith

Question:

338. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the measures that will be implemented at an early date to progress the proposal to extend the Shannon navigation from Lough Allen, County Leitrim to Dowra, County Cavan in view of the substantial preparatory work carried out on the project some years ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62010/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The navigation to Lough Allen through the Lough Allen Canal was restored and re-opened in 1994. Since then, Waterways Ireland has developed and maintained facilities for boats at a number of key locations including a significant marina development at Cleighran More and harbour facilities at Spenser Harbour.

Waterways Ireland has recently received planning approval for the development of a boat slipway at Spenser Harbour, which will complement and augment the harbour as a boating amenity and will provide much needed access to that area of Lough Allen. At the same time, Waterways Ireland in association with Leitrim County Council has developed the Shannon Blueway utilising the Lough Allen Canal and the wider north Shannon area which is bringing increasing numbers of visitors to the canal and to the wider area in general.

With regard to the extension of navigation to Dowra, Waterways Ireland does not have immediate plans to progress this proposal. Waterways Ireland, together with Fáilte Ireland and the 10 Local Authorities, including Cavan and Leitrim, has formulated and is currently implementing the Shannon Tourism Masterplan.

The Masterplan is the first time a single, holistic and dedicated plan of any type has been undertaken on the Shannon Region. Based on three core themes, seven strategic signature initiatives are proposed that will when delivered, position the Shannon Region as a distinctive and sustainable tourist destination.

The initiatives are as follows:

1. Communicating a clear and consistent message;

2. Enhancing the on-water experience;

3. Enhancing the waterside experience;

4. Animating and enhancing the Shannon towns and villages;

5. Protecting and enhancing the Shannon Environment;

6. Improving connectivity; and

7. Building networks.

The potential restoration of disused navigations for recreational purposes including their expanded and wider use forms part of Strategic Signature Initiative 3 (Enhancing the on-water experience). However no firm proposals in relation to this have yet been progressed.

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