The Draft Revisions to the Shannon Navigation Bye-laws and Grand & Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation Bye-laws by Waterways Ireland run the risk of removing boats from the navigation and restricting access to a public amenity for all users.
Waterways Ireland are back again with another set of proposed Draft Bye-Laws that do not put user requirements, local communities or tourism at the centre of the regulations. Similar sets of proposals were put forward in 2009 and in 2014 and were rejected by members of Dail Eireann on both occasions.
They also risk people's homes, their livelihoods and the vibrant communities of traditional canal dwellers in Ireland's houseboat communities. They seek to introduce “Rangers” who can issue fixed penalty fines of €150 for non-compliance of the Bye-laws, many of which are poorly defined and subjective. These fines are not only for those on a boat, but walkers, cyclists, fishermen, kayakers and horse riders (they are also proposing to prohibit horses from the towpaths), asking for their name, address and ID. Those issued fines will have no right of appeal other than the District Courts.
The new Bye-laws seek to dictate who, other than the boat owner, can live on a private boat. Owners would also be prohibited from letting or subletting their boats. No other privately owned dwellings in the Republic of Ireland are subject to such restrictions by a public body. We feel that this is discriminatory.
Waterways Ireland have not published their accounts for the years 2021 and 2022 (please refer to https://www.waterwaysireland.org/about-us/plans-and-policies/annual-reports)
They are asking for the public to pay massive fee increases (between 400 and 2000% increases, depending on the area where the boat is located) and yet they have not been forthcoming in their own accounts. This is unacceptable. (New bye-laws can be uploaded from https://www.waterwaysireland.org/Pages/Public-Consultation-on-Draft-Byelaws.aspx, section 38 includes fees table)
Please help IRBOA oppose these Bye-Laws by signing the petition. There needs to be a better way forward than coming back with Draft Bye-Laws that are a very similar version of previous ones that have been twice rejected by Dail Eireann. The new Draft Bye-Laws do not put user requirements, local communities, or tourism at the centre of the regulations.
There has been a lack in representation for Houseboat communities in Ireland. IRBOA’s main object is to represent these communities and campaign for their interests.
We aim to promote and inform Politicians, the public and other interested groups about the wonderful Houseboat communities.