Waterways Ireland opens public consultation on draft bye-laws

Waterways Ireland opens public consultation on draft bye-laws
Proposed revisions to Shannon Navigation and Canals bye-laws first in more than 30 years

Press Release
20 June 2023

Waterways Ireland is inviting members of the public and interested parties to have their say on proposed revisions to the Shannon Navigation and Canals bye-laws by making a submission to a public consultation, which is now open.

The consultation covers the Shannon Navigation (including the Shannon-Erne Waterway), the Royal and Grand canals, and the Barrow Navigation. It runs until 2nd October 2023. The revisions were developed by Waterways Ireland following research and consultation with key stakeholders.

The proposed revisions are the first since 1986 for the canals and 1994 for the Shannon.  They include the introduction of new serviced and un-serviced canal permits for houseboat communities; additional houseboat mooring zones; in-water inspections and insurance for boats; the introduction of an annual registration process, abolition of lock passage fees; the requirement for life-jackets on the water and safety equipment on boats; speed limits for bicycles and scooters on the Greenways and Blueways; certification of vessels being used for commercial purposes, and designated zones for tents and caravans. The revisions also include measures to protect the environment.

Commenting, Waterways Ireland Chief Executive, John McDonagh said: “In Ireland, we have an innate connection to our waterways. An abundance of people choose our waterways for their leisure – that includes boaters, kayakers, anglers, walkers or cyclists on the Greenways and Blueways. More people want to live on our waterways and the draft bye-laws will facilitate this.

“The current bye-laws that govern the Shannon Navigation and the Canals are 30 years old. There have been many positive changes during this time. We have an increased awareness of health and safety, and biodiversity.  In recent years we have developed many Greenways and Blueways. The draft bye-laws reflect this progress”. 

Mr McDonagh added: “Waterways Ireland is the proud custodian of more than 1,000km of inland waterways. The proposed bye-laws will protect biodiversity, water quality, heritage, and waterways users. They will enable more people to enjoy our waterways. We encourage all waterways users to read the proposed revisions and to have their say by making a submission to the consultation.”

The public consultation documents can be accessed both online and in hard copy.  Further information on this and on how to make a submission can be found on the Waterways Ireland website – www.waterwaysireland.org.

In addition, Waterways Ireland will hold public meetings on the draft bye-laws in June and July in Carrick-on-Shannon; Killaloe; Dublin; Carlow; Mullingar, Athlone and Tullamore. Details of these meetings can be found on the Waterways Ireland website.

The closing date for submissions to the public consultation is Monday 2 October 2023.