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Outcry Over Proposed Ban on Watersports on Galway Beaches. This Must be Stopped Before Other Countries Do It

category national | public consultation / irish social forum | news report author Monday November 07, 2022 22:43author by 1 of Indy Report this post to the editors

You have a chance to submit your feedback to the Council before this Fri Nov 11th to stop this madness

Galway County Council have proposed by laws that are truly Orwellian and all about control. One has to ask if this is a trial balloon for this were to succeed other councils were surely try it and before we know it hiking would be banned as well and basically all access to the outdoors. Remember that this was effectively done during Covid lockdowns so government know they can do it

This story has got fairly wide traction and rightly so. Here is a report from AFLOAT magazine


West coast windsurfers, sailors and other water users have expressed alarm over a proposal to ban all leisure activities other than swimming on Galway county beaches.

Under the draft legislation, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, stand-up paddling and horse-riding would be banned at 24 beaches extending from the Aran islands to Connemara to Portumna with a risk of fines of up to €1900.

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The by-laws propose that “no person shall wind surf on sail boards or kite-surf on kite boards or surf on a surf board or use a canoe, kayak, dinghy, stand-up paddle board or water bike in close proximity to bathers”.

The draft bye-laws also propose banning dog walking between 11 am and 7 pm and ensuring dogs are on a leash outside these hours during summer months.

Bans on the use of inflatable water devices on open water, and personal watercraft, power craft and fast power craft within 300m of the low water mark at the time of use, “except for the purpose of rescue”, are also proposed.

Community pharmacist Dr Barra Nevin, a windsurfer and sailor, said the proposed bye-laws include a provision to allow zoning for other activities, but at a later stage, “which doesn’t make sense”.

He has questioned why there was no dialogue or advanced consultation with water users.

“This has national implications, as if these bye-laws are passed here it will be copied by other local authorities, which will effectively close access to the sea for many people ,”he said.

“As a community pharmacist in Roscam, Galway and former chairperson of the Irish Pharmacy Union Western Region, this proposal is contrary to HSE policy on outdoor pursuits and exercise,”Dr Nevin says in his submission to Galway County Council.

“To criminalise water sports enthusiasts is madness, considering the benefits of same on one's physical and mental health,” Dr Nevin says.

Dr Nevin, who stood on a community platform in the 2009 local elections, is windsurfing representative on the Renville Water Users group, which includes four county councillors.

He is an active member of Galway Bay Sailing Club and pointed out that water users work together in Renville.

“What is going to happen politically when local people who have no idea of these proposed bye-laws turn up to their beach with their kayak on the roof of their cars and first hear and see signage representative of these bye-laws?” he asks in his submission.

Galway swimmer Brian Coll said the draft bye-laws put swimmers in conflict with other water sports users.

“ A preferred approach is to implement beach management plans and zoning that enable as many people as possible to access the beach for their activities,” he said.

Coll notes that Galway is the only county on the Wild Atlantic Way which does not zone beaches to accommodate swimmers and other water-based activities, and he warned that the bye-laws could result in loss of Blue Flag status.

“By not having designated swim and water sports zones in place, this new law effectively results in a 'NOT WELCOME' sign to all visitors who wish to engage in watersports on County Galway beaches,” he says.

Galway sailor and yacht chandler Pierce Purcell said that lack of access was the single biggest obstacle to the development of water sport.

“The west coast is recognised as an incredible blue water cruising ground, and is so far behind in marina facilities apart from the very welcome addition of the growing facilities at Ros-a-Mhíl, Inis Mór and Inishbofin,” he says.

Given the tourism benefits and health and safety considerations, Galway County Council “should be putting their efforts into applying for funds to develop these incredible natural amenities,” Purcell says.

Galway County Council did not respond to a request for comment.


The closing date for submissions on the draft bye-laws is Friday November 11th.

Link to Draft Beach Bye Laws: https://www.galway.ie/en/media/Draft%20Beach%20Bye%20Laws%202022%20Eng.pdf

Link to Draft Beach Bye Law Maps: https://www.galway.ie/en/media/Draft%20Beach%20Bye%20Laws%20Maps%202022.pdf


UPDATE:

A petition under the heading Watersports Ban Galway- Galway Draft Bye Laws 2022 has been launched at https://www.change.org/p/watersports-ban-galway-draft-bye-laws-2022

Please visit the page as it has useful commentary on the issue and information





Related Link: https://afloat.ie/port-news/galway-harbour/item/56813-outcry-over-proposed-ban-on-watersports-on-galway-beaches
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