Campaign to highlight 'barren' Liffey

Wed, Aug 22, 2012, 01:00

A PROTEST involving a flotilla of boats in Dublin is planned during the tall ships’ visit to highlight the emptiness of the river Liffey and to seek proper provision for the mooring of leisure craft and houseboats.

Sam Field-Corbett, of the Irish Ship and Barge Fabrication Company, said the “Use the Water” campaign – supported by other boat users – will be directed against “forces that, over the years, have turned the river into a barren, lifeless and empty space”.

There were “internationally unprecedented restrictions” against private boats during the tall ships event, he claimed, and said boat owners who use the river every day are being driven off for the event. “This is against the spirit of the tall ships event, which seeks to embrace the historic connections of seafarers and the sea,” he said.

Mr Field-Corbett’s “party boat”, Laura Lucy, was “evicted” yesterday from its mooring as it was deemed to be “unauthorised” by Dublin Port Company’s harbour master, Capt David Dignam.

He was ordered to take it “outside Dublin Port Company’s area of jurisdiction or to an area that has been allocated for the mooring of leisure craft”, such as Poolbeg or Clontarf yacht and boat clubs.

Mr Field-Corbett claims Clontarf is unsuitable for a large vessel while Poolbeg charges €75 a night.

The protest will call on Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar to restrict the port company’s jurisdiction to the working port area down river from the East Link bridge and hand control of the Liffey to a body “with sole responsibility for the development of the river for the city”.

The company, which has jurisdiction up to Rory O’Moore Bridge, near Collins Barracks, said it was committed to “facilitating the use of the river for commercial and leisure purposes” and had an “excellent relationship” with users.

“With regard to Tall Ships 2012, operators on the river were asked to submit . . . proposals for inclusion in the event. No such proposal was received from Mr Corbett.

“Security and operational procedures dictate that all craft not immediately associated with the Tall Ships 2012 event will only be permitted access to . . . the river . . . west of the East Link bridge in a controlled and organised fashion.”