After a white knuckle minibus ride through Dublin, Green WIN partners settled down for the project’s final meeting and site visits, in Ireland from 9-11 May 2023.
John McDonagh, CEO Waterways Ireland (WI) welcomed the group and introduced his organisations ambitious strategic pathway for the next ten years, particularly the focus on their Climate Action Plan, Water Management Strategy, and adherence to new national Abstraction Regulations under the Water Framework Directive.
NIWE members also joined the trip to hear more about Green WIN and to plan future engagement. John’s confirmation that WI is committed to a place within the international family of navigation authorities was music to their ears…
WI’s Environmental and Operations teams hosted the site visits and despite the weather, Day 1 went very well. First up was the magnificent cut-stone Richmond Harbour, Cloondara, Co. Longford, where the River Shannon and the Royal Canal meet. It is the starting point of the Royal Canal Greenway and a location on the National Famine Way. From there, the team travelled to Shannon Harbour, Co. Offaly a beautiful little village situated where the Grand Canal joins the Shannon at the mouth of the Brosna River.
It was then onwards to Meelick Weir Walkway, a structure which was officially reopened in 2021 following a transformative restoration by Waterways Ireland. The restored infrastructure links the historic village of Meelick in east Galway to Lusmagh in west Offaly.
Day 2 began with the Green WIN partner meeting in Tullamore. Partners discussed the project’s achievements and results – and looked to the future, with collaboration (with and via) NIWE, IWI and similar organisations, seen as essential. The value of installing smart technology at WI sites was confirmed and representatives from Xylem Water Solutions Ltd explained the solutions they propose WI should use.
Back on the road and after lunch, there was a stop at Leinster Aqueduct where WI highlighted the improvements resulting from Green WIN, and Xylem showed the group’s technicians how this technology would work. As at other project trial sites – this location will benefit greatly from the installation of a smart controller.
In the evening, the group was treated to a boat trip around the Grand Canal Basin to see and hear more of the current water management and environmental issues faced.
That was it. The sun finally came out and everyone could relax and toast the wonderful Waterways Ireland hosts with a drop of the black stuff!