Houseboat residents ‘concerned’ over possible rise in costs

Senator Lynn Ruane seeks amendment to Heritage Bill to allay canal users’ worries

Heather Humphreys said the increase in an annual permit for a houseboat mooring being proposed by Waterways Ireland, in the revised canal bylaws, was €4, bringing it from €126-€130. Photograph: iStock

Heather Humphreys said the increase in an annual permit for a houseboat mooring being proposed by Waterways Ireland, in the revised canal bylaws, was €4, bringing it from €126-€130. Photograph: iStock

 

There are concerns about the potentially huge increase in costs for canal houseboat residents, Independent Senator Lynn Ruane told the Seanad.

She said canal waterways were home for some people as well as a source of enjoyment for tourists.

Ms Ruane said she had been contacted by canal users, some of whom were students.

“One of them is training to be a teacher and has another two years to complete,’’ she added.

“He is living in great fear that the minimal amount of money it costs to live on the canal at present will increase dramatically because it is not linked to inflation.’’

Ms Ruane suggested the Heritage Bill 2016 be amended to ensure the cost of permits and licences be set at a level related to intended use and linked to the general level of prices in the economy.

Minister for Heritage Heather Humphreys said canals were a public asset.

In setting costs for boat users of the canals, such as permits for mooring, Waterways Ireland had regard to the fees paid for similar facilities on other navigations provided by the private sector, she added.

She said costs and fees linked to the rate of inflation could be significantly higher than the modest increases currently being proposed.

Ms Humphreys said the Residential Tenancies Act did not apply to Waterways Ireland.

She said the increase in an annual permit being proposed by Waterways Ireland, in the revised canal bylaws, was €4, bringing it from €126-€130.

“If we had gone with the consumer price index, it would have been much higher,’’ the Minister added.