A series of charges being imposed on people who use the Grand Canal at Sallins has been defended by Waterways Ireland - which is responsible for inland watercourses.
The charges apply under a number of headings to people who use boats for leisure or, less likely, as residences on the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and the Barrow.
The tolls and charges include an annual fee of €130 for each boat navigating the canal; a fee of between €160-€1,600 for mooring depending on boat size and location ands services provided and a houseboat mooring permit of €1,250-€3,500 depending on location and services.
Charges apply to the three waterways but other waterways like the River Shannon are not included, to the annoyance of people with boats in Sallins, Lowtown and Hazelhatch.
Boat users have staged a protest over the charges in Sallins recently and since then met at the Town House Hotel, Naas.
In a statement to the Leader, Waterways Ireland said it is carrying out a consultation process to enable groups and individuals with an interest in the waterways to respond. WI spokeswoman Katrina McGirr said the aim is to develop the canals as a vibrant recreational waterway for all users by enhancing WI’s ability to manage the investment in infrastructure and facilities for both the navigational and recreational user.
At the moment, she said, the boat population has clustered around easily accessible moorings and harbours and “has used these as permanent moorings.”
This practice has impeded the development of the canal as a recreational/tourist facility because touring boats are unable to tie up at attractive moorings close to places of interest or villages with amenities as “the moorings are already occupied by a static boat population.”