Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Ceisteanna (241)

Bernard Durkan


241. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she and her Department either directly or through Waterways Ireland have reached agreement with traditional canal dwellers and canal recreational users with regard to draft proposals to increase the costs to traditional users; the extent to which provisions to cater for these issues can be provided for in the Heritage Bill 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18191/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Waterways Ireland continues to work closely with boat owners using the canals, and adjacent land owners and committees. Meetings are held with the key stakeholder interest groups, the Royal Canal Amenity Group, Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) and the Heritage Boat Association (HBA).

In addition, Waterways Ireland works alongside the Friends of the Grand Canal and Royal Canal Clean-Up Group in Dublin and the newly established Grand Canal Dock Group, who like many of the communities throughout the waterways support the maintenance and operation of the canals.

Operational staff, lockkeepers and waterway patrollers meet canal users on a daily basis and provide a wide range of services. Inspectorate staff manage boat use on the canals in accordance with the 1988 Canal Bye-laws. In this regard, Waterways Ireland continues to concentrate on boats which consistently remain in breach of the Bye-laws. Where a boat owner fails to respond to requests to comply, after notification by letters, telephone calls and formal notice, a programme of boat removal continues.

In Grand Canal Dock where boat owners have refused to move, and are seeking to permanently reside on their vessels in breach of the Bye-laws, Regulation of use of these prime location berths is being taken forward under the 1988 Canal Bye-laws to protect these public amenities.

Waterways Ireland in 2018 will deliver a programme to extend boat effluent pump out facilities and fresh water locations for boat owners using the canal network. Waterways Ireland will also extend its programme of promoting and ensuring compliance with the use of holding tanks for effluent in boats on the Canal network.

The Heritage Bill does not make provision to increase the charges for boat users on the canals. The amendments to the Canals Act, 1986 in the Heritage Bill are primarily enabling provisions to allow for the making of bye laws to regulate boating on the canals and to manage the use of the canals. Waterways Ireland will bring forward changes in new Bye Laws proposals once the Heritage Bill is enacted.