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Sailing Representation Lacking at Public Meeting on Proposed ‘Dublin Bay Bill’

27th September 2022
Boats at sail on Dublin Bay
Boats at sail on Dublin Bay, the conservation of which is the focus of a bill before the Dáil from Dublin Bay South TD Ivana Bacik Credit: Afloat.ie

Afloat.ie understands that there was little representation of sailing stakeholders at a public meeting earlier this month to discuss Ivana Bacik’s Dublin Bay Bill.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie last December, the Dublin Bay South TD’s bill proposes establishing a dedicated statutory authority for the conservation of Dublin Bay.

It’s intended that the Dublin Bay Authority would draw its membership “from elected members of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly and others with a special expertise or interest in the future protection of Dublin Bay”.

The bill is currently in its second stage before the Dáil. A PDF of the bill is attached below.

Bacik hosted the meeting at the Sandymount Hotel on Tuesday 13 September and ahead of that evening she said: “Dublin Bay is one of the greatest resources our city has. During the pandemic, many Dubliners reconnected with the bay, swimming and meeting friends there. Indeed, the Bay remains a valuable amenity for year-round and seasonal sea swimmers.

“However, too often, the water quality is poor, with swimming prohibited. The biodiversity of the bay is also under threat due to pollution. For decades, Dubliners have watched as former hubs of community activity, such as the Blackrock and Sandymount baths have fallen into decay.

“It is past time that we saw action taken to ensure the environmental protection of the bay, as well as a vision as to how it can better be brought into public use.”

Bacik says the bill would create a new Dublin Bay Authority with a mandate to:

  • propose and promote policies for the protection and enhancement of the environment of Dublin Bay and of the natural habitats and wildlife in and around the bay;
  • coordinate, promote and support strategic planning and sustainable development in and around Dublin Bay;
  • make recommendations to regulate and control pollution in and around Dublin Bay;
  • promote public interest in and respect for Dublin Bay as a public amenity; and
  • coordinate the activities of public bodies and other organisations and persons in matters connected with the performance of its functions.

Bacik added: “‘For too long we have taken Dublin Bay for granted. Not long ago 300,000 tonnes of sewage sludge were dumped in the Bay every year. Today for instance there are real concerns about wastewater discharges from the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment plant and the potential damage that dredging of the port is causing to the ecosystem.

“We need a joined-up approach to the future protection and enhancement of Dublin Bay. We need to act now, and my proposal is a necessary first step to change how we treat Dublin Bay and realise its remarkable potential.”

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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020