Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilín says she is in favour of such a move but said a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) last June decided against such a move. A year ago the Sentinel reported the ‘tow path’ section of the Strabane Canal was to open for the first time in 50 years in June 2012.
Ms Ní Chuilín said: “I have, however, instructed my officials to contact the Strategic Investment Board to explore any assistance which could be provided in this matter.
“It would be desirable to bring all navigable waterways across the island under the umbrella of WI.
“However, at the NSMC Plenary meeting in June 2012, Ministers endorsed the recommendation that no further action is taken at this time to extend the remit of Waterways Ireland. I have, however, instructed my Officials to keep this matter under review.”
WI has responsibility for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of inland navigable waterways principally for recreational purposes.
The waterways under the remit of the body are the Barrow Navigation, the Erne System, the Grand Canal, the Lower Bann, the Royal, the Shannon-Erne Waterway and the Shannon Navigation.