Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Questions (606)

Éamon Ó Cuív


606. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason Waterways Ireland has reduced the opening time of the locks on the Shannon Erne waterway in the period 1 April to 16 May 2018 from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., compared to 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. in other years; if her permission was sought for such a change; if it is planned to restrict opening hours in September and October in a similar way; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20876/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Waterways Ireland have informed me that the revised daily opening times of 9.00am to 6.00pm for locks on the Shannon-Erne Waterway applies to the period 29th March 2018 through to 16th May 2018.

Before introducing this change Waterways Ireland reviewed the same seven-week period in March and April of 2017 to determine the likely impact on boat passages through locks. It was found that only a very small proportion of daily lock passages occurred between 6.00pm and 8.00pm. The change makes best use of available resources whilst continuing to deliver a waterway patrolling service to waterway users.

Waterways Ireland is operationally independent in regard to its management of the inland waterways under its remit and I have no function in this regard therefore my permission was not required to make such a change.

I am advised that the operational hours for the locks will return to 9.00am to 8.00pm daily as of 17th May 2018, and that operational hours will be subject to ongoing review to ensure Waterways Ireland delivers a high quality service to waterway users in the most efficient and effective manner.