Photo: James Sheary

Last call for submissions on Shannon byelaws

Five-day rule to combat 'hogging' of harbour space

Local users of the Shannon have been encouraged to read and make submissions on the new byelaws proposed for the navigation by Waterways Ireland.

A public consultation on draft revisions to the Shannon Navigation Byelaws commenced last June and has been extended to the end of this month. A wide range of changes are proposed and a second phase of public consultation is to take place in the new year.

Raising the matter at last week's meeting of Nenagh Municipal District, Cllr John Carroll said it would be beneficial for local members of the county council to meet with Waterways Ireland to discuss the byelaws and other issues of concern on Lough Derg.

Cllr Joe Hannigan encouraged people to make a submission on the new proposals ahead of the deadline of this Friday, October 27. He said that one of the biggest changes proposed is a limit on the length of time a vessel can remain berthed at Waterways Ireland property.

The draft byelaws state that vessels cannot berth at Portumna's Castle Harbour, at Terryglass or at Killaloe for more than three consecutive days or more than a total of five days in any one calendar month without the permission of Waterways Ireland. For all other Waterways Ireland properties, a five-day consecutive limit is proposed, or no more than a total of seven days in a month.

Cllr Hannigan said the intention is to free up space at popular berthing areas. But it could cause congestion problems at other areas on the lake where vessels move to, he warned.

Cllr Phyll Bugler said there was a “major problem” with barges “hogging” Ballina Quay. Staff from Tipperary Co Council had to come out and deal with the situation, she said. Tourists visiting the area by boat had difficulty finding a spot to berth and so moved on elsewhere.

District Director Marcus O'Connor said the five-day rule would help the situation. The council had a problem with people leaving boats at its harbours for months at a time and this meant boating tourists could not access places they wanted to visit. Mr O'Connor likened the time limit to that of car parks and trying to achieve turnover of spaces in towns.

Cllr Bugler also encouraged people to make a submission on Waterways Ireland's new proposals. She noted that some elements of antisocial behaviour could be dealt with under the byelaws but said there is a need for the Athlone-based Garda Water Unit to be deployed in Ballina-Killaloe to police the byelaws. Cllr Bugler expressed particular concern over jet-ski operators not adhering to speed limits.

Cllr John Rocky McGrath spoke of a need to educate young people about water safety.

“Cruel things can happen on rivers and lakes; have respect for the water,” he said, suggesting that an education initiative could be run through schools.