Attacks on boaters close Dublin links
THE TWO MAIN canals into Dublin have been closed indefinitely by Waterways Ireland following attacks by youths on boats, boat crews and waterways staff – but the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland has slammed WI’s action as “over the top”.
Both the Grand Canal (the main route from Dublin to the Shannon) and the Royal Canal (which also connects to the Shannon but further north, and was reopened in 2010 following restoration) have been shut by Waterways Ireland after a couple cruising through the Grand Canal were pelted with stones by youths. WI said this was the latest of 28 incidents in four years, and its staff (who accompany all passages) had faced harassment and threats. However, a spokesman for IWAI’s Dublin Branch felt that the authority had overreacted after “a few incidents, some of them minor”, suggesting that the “totally and utterly over the top” response was part of an “agenda” to stop people coming into the capital amid concerns regarding overcrowding in the city centre.
WI responded that a review was being conducted to identify any measures to be put in place, that it hoped to reopen the Dublin lengths “at the earliest opportunity”, and that in the meantime, disruption should be “limited” as it had no current bookings for passages through the city – of which there are typically around 70 per year.