To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when the Canals Act 1986 (Amendment) Bye-Laws 2014 will come into effect once the public consultation has been completed; his views on whether the bye-laws as currently proposed will have a negative impact on the tourism industry and canal cruising community; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Anthony Lawlor.

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 30th January, 2014.

Ref No: 4689/14


Waterways Ireland commenced a public consultation process on the proposed bye laws, the Draft Canals Act, 1986 (Amendment) Bye-Laws, 2014, on 6th January 2014. This consultation process is currently open to the public for a period of 21 working days in accordance with section 7(1) of the Canals Act, 1986 (No 3 of 1986) as amended by section 56 of the Maritime Safety Act, 2005 (No. 11 of 2005).

Accordingly, the public consultation process closes at 3pm on the 3rd of February, following which Waterways Ireland will consider all written submissions before finalising the approach they intend to take in relation to the new bye-laws. A final outcome may be either to refrain from making the byelaws or with my consent make the bye laws with or without modification. As the consultation process is still underway, it is not possible at this time to give an accurate assessment of how long the subsequent review will take.

Our waterways make a vital contribution to tourism, attracting visitors from around Ireland and from abroad. There are over 14,000 registered boat owners on the seven waterways managed by Waterways Ireland. The proposed bye-laws are intended to support the investment already made by Waterways Ireland in new infrastructure and facilities along the canals. They will enhance Waterways Ireland’s ability to manage, care for and maintain the canals and to help to develop them as a vibrant recreational and tourist amenity for all waterway users.