IWAI News Release
Date of Issue 28 January 2014
ONE DAY ONLY– Monday 3rd Feb 2014:Save the Canals & River Barrow. Widespread community alarm is emerging at proposed amendments by Waterways Ireland on Canals Bye-laws. Comments in the Seanad on Tuesday 21st January included
“there is an element within the proposed bye-laws of over-bureaucracy and bureaucracy gone mad”. Waterways Ireland opened a consultation on these bye-laws; from 6th Jan for just 21 days to 3rd February. At a meeting with Waterways Ireland last Thursday night, 23rd January in Mullingar, Carmel Meegan, President of the IWAI, was adamant that proposed bye-laws “do not put user requirements, tourism development, and wider communities at the centre of the regulations”.
The IWAI further outlined the reality of boating on the Canals and Barrow; highlighting significant differences between these and other Irish navigations. Any amendments to by-laws need to recognise this and be customer focused and fit for purpose in relation to charges; permits and mooring provision. IWAI Branches along the waterways have met with local communities and public representatives in the last few weeks, and have undertaken an information campaign on this matter. The River Barrow area groups and communities are widely affected with great concern regarding the new charge on their waterway of €50 per open fishing boats. On the Grand Canal, an Offaly IWAI meeting in Tullamore on 16th January was attended by many concerned groups and politicians to discuss
the implications for rural counties. The Kildare IWAI public on Monday 27th January also had a large attendance of waterways enthusiasts and public representatives and Dublin IWAI’s meeting is on Tuesday 28th January. Groups along the Royal Canal are airing their unease via similar means. Shannon groups concerned for the future of all inland waterways also support the IWAI. Community leadership and civic interest are reacting with severe disquiet. What can you do? Contact your local IWAI branch via www.iwai.ie or email direct to bye-laws @iwai.ie. Get the IWAI letters of concern signed before this weekend for submission by IWAI to Waterways Ireland, or make your own submission. Either way please let IWAI know so IWAI can catalogue response
numbers. The boating community is not averse to appropriate management, facility provision, and access to waterways. But boats are key attractions, as the lifeblood of the navigations, and need to be welcomed. The current bye-laws date from 1988, but have never been properly enforced. Instead of changing these
properly for the better; to encourage navigation users, tourism and social development in and along the canals, Waterways Ireland instead in many cases suggest a draconian structure for boat use of navigations. This will deprive locations along waterways of all the social and economic advantages of boat
tourism, from both the domestic and international markets. –
ENDS
Who to contact for
further information
Gregory Whelan, IWAI, p:+353-87-7996356 e: gregorypwhelan@gmail.com Alan Kelly, IWAI, Mobile: +353-86-83262755
John Dolan, IWAI, Mobile: +353-87-9021039