I see from one of the blatts that some boating folk are complaining about the prospect of reduced taxpayer subsidies for their canal-and-Barrow holidays. I’ll deal with the burden of their song later, but I was struck by the lack of foresight suggested by Mr Drennan, the author of the Indo story:
[…] concern is growing about the shortness of a consultation period, which will close on February 3.
The timetable for consultations on proposed Waterways Ireland byelaws is set out in the Maritime Safety Act 2005, which amended the Canals Act 1986 and the Shannon Navigation Act 1990, giving people 21 days to submit objections to proposals. I cannot see why anyone should now be surprised or concerned that Waterways Ireland is obeying the law.
Furthermore, it’s not as if Waterways Ireland’s intentions were not known. For instance, on 25 September 2012 WI said in a press release:
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.
Anyone who has been paying attention to waterways affairs for the past few years must have been well aware of the direction of change. There has been plenty of time for folk to formulate their objections — or even to come up with sensible alternative long-term strategies.