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Kerry Harbour Users Say No to Over-Regulation

13th April 2012
Kerry Harbour Users Say No to Over-Regulation

#IRISH HARBOURS - Protesters took to the water off Kerry's piers last month in an organised swim drawing attention to proposed harbour bylaws designed to regulate the activities of water users.

“We need to make the public aware they have to make submissions,” Denise Collins told The Irish Times from Kells, which hosted one of the largest swims. “Traditional activities such as swimming will be over-regulated, we fear.”

The proposed bylaws would give Kerry County Council greater control over 16 of the county's 57 harbours and piers, including Kells, Kenmare, Portmagee, Brandon and Ventry.

Under the new bylaws, strict regulations would be placed on the use of loudhailers, landing and unloading passengers and freight, waste and even movement around the harbour.

"Draconian" charges are also set to be imposed on fishermen and other harbour users, while campaingers also feel that a ban on swimming and diving could also be added to the list.

The proposed bylaws already suffered a set-back earlier this year when Kerry County Councillors decided to restart the consultation process to allow the fishing industry, tourism operators and other interests more time to make submissions.

According to the Irish Examiner, only two submissions had been received by the council as of its January monthly meeting, despite senior council officials working for months on the draft proposals.

Cllr Toiréasa Ferris commented that the proposed charges in particular "would have huge implications for fishermen, some of whom might currently be earning only between €40 and €50 for a 14-hour day."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, charges may also soon be hiked on yachts berthing at Ireland's main fishing harbours, a list that includes Dingle in Co Kerry.

Irish Marine Federation chairman David O'Brien expressed concern at the potential for such charges to damage "the good tourism dividend for coastal towns", noting that for every euro spent on a harbour berth, €10 was normally spent in the locality.

Published in Irish Harbours
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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