Developing the potential of the River Suir and other waterways

The Green and Blue futures project team from South Tipperary County Council with Minister Tom Hayes T.D.Back row: Kathleen Prendergast (Economic Development Officer), Valerie Connolly (Sports Partnership), Alan Walsh (Planning).Front row: Sally O'Leary (Arts Officer), Sinead Carr (Director of Services), Roisin O'Grady (Acting Heritage Officer), Minister Tom Hayes, T.D, Marie Phelan (Public Awareness Officer), Ann Ryan (Access Officer). Missing from photo is Paddy Crotty (Engineer).
A conference on ‘Developing the Socio Economic Potential of Waterway Corridors’ took place recently at Hotel Minella, Clonmel.

A conference on ‘Developing the Socio Economic Potential of Waterway Corridors’ took place recently at Hotel Minella, Clonmel.

A gathering of minds took place at the beginning of the month in Clonmel when delegates travelled from home and abroad to attend a conference on ‘Developing the Socio Economic Potential of Waterway Corridors’ at Hotel Minella. The Conference which was hosted by South Tipperary County Council as a partner in the Green & Blue Futures Programme which is funded by European Regional Development Funding through INTERREG IVB.

The Conference brought together a wide range of expertise from across Europe and Ireland showcasing the socio economic potential of waterway corridors such as our own River Suir. It focused on innovative approaches and covered topics that ranged from sports activity development to embracing our heritage, expanding our tourism potential and the development of the social economy. The conference ran over a day and a half and was attended by 114 delegates from many sectors but all with an interest in developing our Green & Blue infrastructure. A word of thanks to staff and management at Hotel Minella who helped ensure the smooth running of this event and provided such an idyllic venue on the banks of the River Suir, completed, to the delegates delight with the presence of otters.

The conference also coincided with a visit from the other partners in the Green & Blue Programme. Delegates from the UK, Scotland, Belgium and France arrived on Monday evening for briefing meetings on each countries project. On Tuesday afternoon a site visit took place to Kilsheelan where aspects of some of the projects South Tipperary are working on were showcased.

FAS Supervisor Simon Molloy showed delegates the re-enforcement of the riverbank with willow along the towpath, an eco-friendly sustainable method of re-enforcement which many of our partners were not familiar with. Simon also spoke on the ongoing work involved in maintaining and protecting the biodiversity of the river.

In Kilsheelan Fiona Crotty from Kilsheelan Tidy Towns brought delegates to see the garden of renewal being undertaken using different traditional methods along the river as well as giving a talk about tidy towns. Carrick on Suir River rescue performed some manoeuvres on the river and gave a talk about their organisation and the role of volunteers. Then participants in the Waterford and Clonmel Community Youth Services Garda Diversion project, who had kayaked from Clonmel, arrived into Kilsheelan to show what they had learned. This was followed by tea in the community centre, special thanks to Kilsheelan Tidy Towns Committee and the village of Kilsheelan for their hospitality.

The Green & Blue Programme runs until 2015. So far South Tipperary County Council has carried out actions relating to Mapping of Access points to the River Suir, a Canoe and Kayak audit, the Tow path between Clonmel and Carrick on Suir, Youth Projects, River Tidy Towns Network and a River Suir Art Project.

Further information on any of these projects can be obtained from The Heritage Office, County Hall, Clonmel.