John McDonagh now Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland – Feb 12

John McDonagh has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Waterways Ireland following a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council on February 3rd 2021. John will take up a four year appointment having previously acted as the interim Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland since April 2019.

Since joining Waterways Ireland, John has concentrated on addressing the key strategic challenges of leadership and organisational capacity gaps; strengthening organisational governance, risk and controls; and focusing on the development of a strategic long-term plan. He is positioning Waterways Ireland to be a dynamic, purposeful organisation for all users and stakeholders.

Commenting on his recent appointment and his future vision for the organisation, John said:
I am pleased to be given the opportunity to lead Waterways Ireland and to continue the journey towards a pathway to growth. It is important we keep looking forward and prepare for the future. I envision Waterways Ireland creating inspirational inland navigations through conservation and sustainable development for the benefit of all. I am enthusiastic about future developmental opportunities to build upon our natural and built assets to grow the social, economic and environmental well-being value of our navigation waterways in both Northern Ireland and Ireland.”


Prior to his appointment in Waterways Ireland, John spent much of his career in senior roles such as Retail Director and Country Manager in Shell Ireland. More latterly, John was Sales and Marketing Director with Liberty Insurance where he was responsible for the award-winning brand launch in Ireland. Throughout his long career John has also consulted across multiple sectors.
John is an English & History graduate from UCD and he holds a Masters in Finance. He represented UCD Soccer Club in its first year in League of Ireland and for his sins continues to be a Manchester United fan.
He lives in Sligo and commutes to Waterways Ireland HQ in Enniskillen.

About Waterways Ireland

Waterways Ireland is a cross-border body accountable to the North South Ministerial Council under the 1998 British-Irish Agreement. The organisation is headquartered in Enniskillen and has satellite offices in Dublin, Carrick-on-Shannon, and Scarriff. Its 300 staff are deployed across the management, maintenance, development and promotion of over 1,000 kms of inland navigable waterways. Waterways Ireland assets contribute approximately €560m in economic, societal and environmental value annually. The waterways estate comprises Grand Canal; Royal Canal; Barrow; Shannon, Shannon-Erne; Erne; Ulster Canal and Lower Bann navigations. In 2020 the waterways estate received 3.5 million visitors.