Tuesday, 7 July 2020
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
254. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans for increasing the level of infrastructure along the Grand Canal from Harold's Cross to Portobello to deal with the requirements of canal boats such as electricity supply to the boats and wastewater removal from the boats; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13824/20]
Waterways Ireland is the cross-border navigational authority responsible for the management, maintenance, development and promotion of over 1,000 km of inland navigable waterways, principally for recreational purposes.
The body's responsibilities include the issuing of permits / mooring locations and ensuring adherence to the Canals Bye Laws by vessel owners.
Any changes to the infrastructure on the Grand Canal would require extensive consultation and engagement with all stakeholders including Dublin City Council, detailed feasibility studies, impact assessments, planning applications, and identification of suitable capital budget and associated future current budget for sustainable management of a changed infrastructure.
Waterways Ireland is presently undertaking a 10-year strategic review. As part of this exercise, it will examine all opportunities to develop, over the next 10 years, initiatives for each of its navigations. These will include areas on and along the Grand Canal consistent with its remit, funding and the importance of consultation and engagement with the many diverse groups within the catchment areas.
Waterways Ireland expects the 10-year strategic review to be available for consultation in Q4 2020.
This small body of fresh water at the location to which the Deputy refers periodically silts up. Approximately every seven to eight years the navigation channel needs to be dredged and deepened to original levels. This maintains access at low water levels. As with any proposed works that are within the National Park in question, they are also with a European site of nature conservation (SAC) and are subject to screening for appropriate assessment in relation to their potential impact on any of the qualifying interests of the site.
I understand that NPWS regional staff have completed the screening process as well as a tendering process to secure a suitably qualified contractor to carry out these works. They are currently considering all the requirements of the screening process prior to starting any works. A licence from the Irish Fisheries Board is also a requirement, and an application is pending.
It is likely that these works will be completed as planned in the coming weeks.