Waterways Ireland announced in June 2012 that the Canal Bye-laws on the Grand & Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation are to be enforced from autumn 2012, with an accompanying change in the permit system allowing for year-long mooring permits and locations.
Part of bringing in this new location-based permit has been the identification of locations suitable for extended mooring. This process is now completed and work has begun in some areas to improve accessibility.
Waterways Ireland will roll out Extended Mooring Permit applications by area, rather than giving a date when applications for the permit will open. For boat owners this will mean that enforcement of the maximum stay rule will not commence in an area until after boat owners have had the opportunity to purchase an Extended Mooring Permit.
The initial 12 month Extended Mooring Permit will cost €152 and will only be available to boats already holding a valid annual Mooring and Passage Permit.
Boats that cruise and move (staying at a mooring for up to 5 days) will not be in breach of the Bye-laws or require an Extended Mooring Permit.
Waterways Ireland has proposed a small number of draft amendments to the current Bye-laws which date from 1988. These include proposals to provide a range of charges for mooring permits that reflect the location and services provided throughout the canals and also will take into account the size of boat. These proposals include low cost rural moorings on soft banks to ensure the canals are accessible for everyone who owns a boat and requires a mooring. Boat owners allocated an extended mooring location in key areas in villages or towns or with services should be aware that if the new Bye-laws are approved Waterways Ireland will increase the charges for moorings in the future to reflect the location, services, and size of boat.
Waterways Ireland recognises the current situation whereby a small number of boat owners use their boats as their sole or permanent residence. Proposals to make provision for this use of the navigation property have been included in the Bye-law changes.
Furthermore Waterways Ireland intends to work towards the provision of a small number of serviced house boat moorings on the canal network. Such provision will be subject to finance, land availability and compliance with requisite statutory approvals.
Waterways Ireland recognises that a transition period of a number of years will be required to implement this. In the interim these boat owners should apply for an Extended Mooring Permit.
The draft Bye Law amendments are currently being considered by Waterways Ireland’s sponsor Departments. When Waterways Ireland has Ministerial consent, it will proceed to public consultation on the proposed Bye-law amendments.
Waterways Ireland will continue to contact permit holders regularly to ensure they are kept up to date with the roll-out of the new permit. All queries about the enforcement of the current bye-laws or the Extended Mooring Permit should be directed to Shane Anderson, Assistant Inspector of Navigation: Tel no +353 (0)87 286 5726, Email email@example.com . Queries about houseboats should be directed to Property & Legal Section Tel no +44 (0)28 6632 3004.
These changes are necessary steps to improve the management of the canals and waterway amenities for both the navigational and recreational user, so that investment in the new infrastructure and facilities which Waterways Ireland has undertaken is maximised for every user.