Date of Issue: 31 March 2015
The Oireachtas Joint Committee Members on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht express their concerns to Waterways Ireland on the proposed Canal Byelaw amendments.
Carmel Meegan, President of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) led our
delegation 25 March 2014 meeting the above Joint Committee to outline concerns that the
proposed bye-laws do not put user requirements, local communities or tourism at the centre of the
Committee Members feedback on the day confirmed this opinion:
Acting Chairman Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy. Fine Gael Laois – Offaly opening the
session noted “Concerns have been expressed that the new bye-laws are not fully fit for purpose
and this is why we have invited the witnesses here today. I hope this discussion will allow us to
review the proposed Act and to identify any areas that need to be re-examined, and to
recommend any changes that may be necessary”
“I am of the view that Waterways Ireland must return to the beginning and reconsider this matter
from a very practical viewpoint. What is proposed is going to lead to the closure of the Canal” –
Deputy James Bannon. Fine Gael Longford – Westmeath
“People should not feel pushed out of an activity they have grown up with, love and wish to pass
on to other generations and the community to help local economies with the tourism income it
can provide” – Deputy Barry Cowen. Fianna Fail Laois – Offaly
“I am fearful that proposals will be implemented without further recommendations” – Senator
Cait Keane. Fine Gael Labour Panel.
“The Bye-laws will impact heavily on a small number of people” – Deputy Catherine Murphy.
Independent Kildare North
“The huge increase in some fees is unacceptable and there is serious concern that the proposed
fees will damage tourism and drive people from the waterways” Deputy Sandra McLellan. Sinn
Fein Cork East
“The new bye-laws will make exacting demands on users of the Canal” – Deputy Seamus Kirk.
Fianna Fail. Louth
“The five day rule, which I believe is completely unworkable” – Deputy Ann Phelan. Labour
The short public consultation period of just 21 days, ended on February 3 rd, resulting in over 2000
submissions on the issue. Public discussion on the matter has included – the Canals and Barrow as a
tourism resource; queries raised in the Seanad and the Dail; County Councils input; public meetings;
national and local press articles; television and radio interviews; community websites; blogs and
facebook pages. These all reflect the reservations of users, communities and public representatives
as to the significant impact of the draconian suggestions in the proposed bye-laws.
Politically, this is now a very big issue. It is featuring highly as candidates face into local elections
this summer. The IWAI have gained the interest of local, regional and national politicians on this
matter to date, who on behalf of their constituents, want to develop, not constrict, waterway use.
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
Who to contact for
Gregory Whelan, IWAI, p: +353-87-7996356 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alan Kelly, IWAI, Mobile: +353-86-8326275
John Dolan, IWAI, Mobile: +353-87-9021039