According to the wonderful KildareStreet.com, on 25 April 2013 Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht [FG Kerry North/West Limerick] and prominent supporter of the Lartigue monorail, answered two written questions by Clare Daly [Socialist, Dublin North]:
31. To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will ensure that Waterways Ireland will respect the rights of citizens who have lived on residential barges in Lowtown, County Kildare, for more than a decade. [19163/13]
38. To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the dealings he has had with Waterways Ireland in relation to the Lowtown Marina, County Kildare, with particular reference to safeguarding the homes of boat dwellers who have resided there for more than a decade. [19164/13]
Jimmy Deenihan gave no ground:
I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 38 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the issues referred to relate to operational day to day matters for Waterways Ireland, for which I have no direct responsibility. However, the Deputy can be assured that Waterways Ireland respects the rights of all users of the navigations under its remit. I am advised by Waterways Ireland that it has carried out significant improvements in the Lowtown area over the last number of years. A new amenity block, including toilets and showers, has been provided, as well as new moorings and other facilities. Some of the moorings at Lowtown have access to electricity, water and lighting and Waterways Ireland would encourage all boat permit holders in the area to avail of these facilities. Boat dwellers can be accommodated on the new moorings under an Extended Mooring Permit.
Waterways Ireland has also endeavoured to regularise the ownership and lease arrangements at Lowtown Marina and it continues to work closely with the owners of the adjacent boat yard in that regard. I am informed that unsafe moorings currently in place there have to be removed, for health and safety reasons.
I am advised that throughout this period when works were planned and underway, Waterways Ireland communicated updates on developments by letter to all permit holders, including barge dwellers, with regard to mooring locations and extended mooring permits. It also responded to queries from a number of individual barge dwellers by email, letter, phone and onsite meetings. In addition, press releases were issued to local media. This approach to communicating with stakeholders will continue.
It would be interesting to know what rights Clare Daly thinks might be infringed, what obligation the taxpayer is assumed to have towards boat dwellers, how much the boat dwellers are paying to the taxpayer and what proportion of the costs of the waterways those users are covering. My own view is that the taxpayer is not obliged to subsidise boat-owners, and that a rational taxpayer might choose to devote resources to some other end, but then I never have understood socialism, save as explained by P G Wodehouse’s Psmyth in Mike:
I am with you, Comrade Jackson. You won’t mind my calling you Comrade, will you? I’ve just become a Socialist. It’s a great scheme. You ought to be one. You work for the equal distribution of property, and start by collaring all you can and sitting on it.