Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland, Dawn Livingstone, has launched their Heritage Plan in the presence of the Heritage Barges in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim.
Developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders the plan encompasses the cultural, built and natural heritage of the inland waterway corridors and aims to "identify and protect the unique waterways heritage and promote its sustainable use for the enjoyment of this and future generations." It is focused on connecting people, communities and the wider population with their local waterway and fostering a sense of place.
The heritage of the waterways encompasses the natural heritage of the landscape through which they run as well as the industrial heritage of the navigations as places of commerce and industry. The archaeology, place-names, local and oral history of the waterways all forms aspects of this Plan which are to be implemented over the next five years.
In launching the Plan, Chief Executive Dawn Livingstone said "The Waterways Ireland Heritage plan represents the first strategic framework for the integration of built, natural and cultural heritage into the future management of our waterways. I welcome the opportunity to work proactively with other Bodies to deliver on projects of shared purpose and to empower and support local communities in the protection and promotion of the waterways heritage."
Members of the public, community groups and State Agencies gave generously of their time in Heritage Plan Working Groups to develop the strategy and it is hoped to deliver the Plan in partnership with them. Implementation of this plan will require involvement from across all sectors; governmental, NGOs, businesses and local communities. In taking this coordinated approach the waterways will remain strong, vibrant places to live, each with its own local distinctiveness, offering a space for the public to stand and appreciate 'living heritage' in all its forms.