Since the latter part of 2012, Kildare IWAI, working with other IWAI Branches and the IWAI executive, has been in consultation with Waterways Ireland in trying to clarify and implement a clear and fair method of instigating new moorings and fees along the canals. Some progress has been made with changes to the Combined Mooring and Passage Permit – see section CMP. However work and consultation continues on trying to instigate fair and understandable rules on the Grand and Royal Canals and on the River Barrow.
Work of the Canal Action Group – report as of June 2013
Alan Kelly & John Dolan of the Canal Action Group explain the latest developments.
Earlier this year an action group was formed with the purpose of mounting a campaign highlighting the effects of the Canal Bye-law enforcement that Waterways Ireland (WI) is currently implementing. The action group is made up of representatives from IWAI Grand Canal and Barrow members. A five point action plan was drawn up as a basis for a national campaign. Work by the action group is ongoing and here is a brief update of actions carried out to date.
IWAI engaged the services of a barrister to examine the mechanisms by which Waterways Ireland is implementing bye-law enforcement and wider regulation changes. The legal advice highlighted problems ranging from breach of administrative law, to lack of transparency, to lack of public consultation.
The first problem tackled by the action group was the wording of the clause in the permit application form issued by Waterways Ireland. Contact was made with Waterways Ireland and its solicitor and some progress was made on providing a more specific wording for the Indemnity clause. The action group provided opinion from various insurance companies as well as legal advice in its dealings with Waterways Ireland. Unfortunately Waterways Ireland has modified the action groups original text, published this text and there has been no further communication with the action group on this matter.
The action group is now of the opinion that an indemnity to obtain a permit is unnecessary as it is unenforceable. The action group is recommending through the IWAI that boat owners should not sign the indemnity clause (make a mark on the text to the effect that this clause is not acceptable) when applying for permits. If Waterways Ireland refuses to process permit applications on the basis of boat owners actions the results will be a very public storm.
The action group will shortly release a letter to all branches highlighting the negative impact of poor planning and over regulation regarding the Extended Mooring Permit system that Waterways Ireland is attempting to roll out. The intention is that your local IWAI will distribute this letter to all local businesses, public representatives, tourism initiatives, funding agencies and the press in an effort to push these issues to the forefront at a local and national level.
Simultaneously the action group will produce site suitability reports for the locations chosen for Extended Mooring by Waterways Ireland. These reports will identify positive and negative issues associated with each location and advise on suitability for intended use. Criteria to be used in these reports will include standard of canal bank, accessibility, security risk, water depth, signage and liability in the event of damage. The action group also intends to assess provision of services for disabled persons as part of this body of work. This work is due to commence soon.
The action group is recommending through the IWAI that members do not purchase EMPs until the site suitability report is complete and Waterways Ireland take onboard and act upon the findings of this report.
If you feel that you can be of assistance with any aspect of the above campaign please contact your local IWAI committee who will connect you with your action group representative.
To follow progress on the individual aspects of WI proposed regulation changes, go to the sub-headings below. See also IWAI Canal Legislation Campaign