Colin Watters.

Watters' troubles halved as friends promise to share canal workload

Shopping trolleys, traffic cones, beer cans and hay bales: in the last week alone, these are just some of the items Colin Watters has spotted in the Royal Canal.

It wouldn’t be enough to say that Watters is troubled by the debris between the bridges. He is in fact furious.

“It’s just shocking,” he declares. “It’s not as bad as the eighties – but it’s not far off it.”

As a result, he’s now he’s roping everyone he knows into getting a massive voluntary clean-up under way on Saturday May 18.

However his ambition is even greater: he wants a crew of regulars who will put a bit of effort into upping the appearance of the town he loves – especially as it gets prepared to host the All-Ireland Fleadh. He describes a sort of “SWAT”style crew who would lift litter, powerwash street signs; maintain roundabouts.

“I spend a lot of time walking the canal in the town and I got sick of looking at the rubbish – and no one is taking it up,” says Colin.

Once he put out his appeal on Facebook, people quickly began to volunteer to help. Some even had extra skills to offer such as being qualified in diving, or capable of sailing a kayak or canoe.

Colin points out that while anyone can collect the litter deposited along side of the canal, clearly it is always going to be more difficult to retrieve items that are actually in the waterway.

To participate just turn up at the Harbour Bridge at 9am on May 18; gloves, bags, high-vis, vests and instructions will be issued there and Colin says all are welcome.