Tag Archives: liability

ESB and the Shannon

I wrote here that I had written to the ESB, on 27 May 2015, to ask about navigation on the Shannon from Castleconnell downstream. One month later, I have not yet received a reply.

I did hear this weekend that ESB had contacted certain boat-owners to inform them that they were not to moor to the ESB embankments between Portumna and Meelick. As a riparian landowner, ESB is no doubt within its rights, but it would be interesting to know how much of the bed of the Shannon it claims to own in that area.

I have still not been able to find out, from the ESB, the clearance under its high-voltage lines crossing the Shannon (and other navigations). I gather that the ESB works on the principle that, if it provides no information, it can’t be blamed if owners of masted vessels electrocute themselves, whereas if it did provide information it might be sued. Strange that a public sector body should have such a blasé attitude to the prospect of the electrocution of the citizenry.

Perhaps if I asked questions under the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007/2011 I might get replies.


Elfin safety

Messrs Build.ie draw my attention to the formation of an Irish branch of the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group, with members including the State Claims Agency, the OPW, Coillte, Waterways Ireland and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. The matter was mentioned in a Dáil written answer on 16 July 2013 and there is a ministerial statement on the formation here including this:

[…] it is essential that these visitors have safe access to our valuable assets […].

There is a list of VSCG members here. It will be nice for the Irish members to be able to converse with those from Manx National Heritage without having to use English, but the Waterways Ireland delegates will no doubt be disappointed that the Scottish bodies don’t seem to give much attention to the Scots language.

One of the VSCG case-studies is about Gas Street Basin in Birmingham; Waterways Ireland may be thinking about its applicability to the Grand Canal docks in Ringsend.

The involvement of the State Claims Agency suggests that the concern for visitors’ safety is not entirely altruistic: that the members may wish to keep down the costs of legal claims against them. Nothing wrong with that: it is in the interests of the citizenry that costs be kept down; that means managing risks and protecting against vexatious claims. If that isn’t done, there is a danger that public access to these bodies’ estates might be restricted.