The ESB and the Shannon

This page exists solely to provide links to some posts I made on the subject of the Shannon (the river, not the Limerick Navigation or the Ardnacrusha headrace/tailrace) between Limerick and Killaloe. The posts were prompted by claims (which later vanished from tinterweb, or at least from what I could find) that kayakers on that stretch of water were trespassing.

Piscator, Navita and Shannon navigation rights, posted on 27 May 2015, was the start, but doesn’t contain much of importance.

Cots and canoes at Castleconnell, posted on 10 June 2105, begins by establishing that cots traditionally used this stretch of river; this page, which is concerned with turf boats using the river above Castleconnell, may also be relevant.

Cots and canoes … moves on to cover legislation that gives the ESB powers over this stretch of the Shannon. The crucial piece of legislation is, I think, the Shannon Fisheries Act, 1935, Section 9 (1) (d):

(1) It shall be lawful for the Board to do all such things, carry out all such transactions, and fulfil all such functions as shall be necessary or proper for or incidental or ancillary to the due performance of the duties in relation to the Shannon fisheries imposed on the Board by this Part of this Act, and in particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers, it shall be lawful for the Board to do all or any of the following things, that is to say:—


(d) terminate, restrict, or otherwise interfere with, either permanently or temporarily and either compulsorily or by agreement, any easement, way-leave, water-right, fishing right, or other right over or in respect of any land or water; […].

An ESB official confirmed that that was the relevant section of the relevant act.

Clearly, then, the ESB has the power to ban kayakers (or dog-walkers, swimmer, horse-riders or anglers) from the section of the Shannon in question. My next question to the ESB attempted to establish whether that power had ever been validly exercised. As far as I could see, no official of the ESB could decide, off his or her own bat, to exercise the powers of terminating, restricting or interfering with various activities. Either the board itself would have to decide or the board would have to delegate powers to a specified person to do so. On 11 July 2016 I wrote Delegated authority in the ESB about another case, but one that seemed to support my view

Whether the board itself exercised the power or it delegated it, there should be a board minute; on 27 May 2015 I asked for a copy of the minute. I have had no reply since then.

That might be because finding the minute would be very difficult (although that should not be so in a well-run organisation), because I’m a nuisance, because the minute doesn’t exist (because no board decision was taken on the matter) or because …. I’m sure there are many possible reasons.

But until I see the minute, or other compelling evidence, I will believe that the ESB has not exercised its powers and that kayakers, rafters, cot-users and other boaters are entitled to navigate the Falls of Doonass.



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