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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 3 August, 2020
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People living in barges on Dublin's Grand Canal could be evicted from their homes this week

A crane is set to remove the houseboats tomorrow.

Image: Instagram/Gary's Black Barge

A NUMBER OF people whose homes are on barges on Dublin’s Grand Canal are set to be evicted this week and have their vessels removed by crane if they don’t move them. 

Despite lobbying Waterways Ireland as well as politicians, the four boat owners were told that their homes are to be removed and stored for a month before being sold off.

Waterways Ireland, which is the government authority for looking after the nation’s rivers and canals, has repeatedly warned those living on the barges that they must move on. 

According to current by-laws, Waterways Ireland does not allow boats to moor on any canals for more than five consecutive days.

However, current residents say they should be allowed live there and that the laws need updating to cater for the current housing crisis. 

Beau Donelly is one of the people advocating for the change to the law. He set up a Go Fund me account as well as a petition to get Waterways Ireland to change its mind. 

It appears this has been unsuccessful. 

Arguing for the rules to be relaxed, Donelly said there are more than 200 people on a waiting list to moor in Grand Canal Dock, a list that has ballooned since Ireland’s housing crisis.

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The Grand Canal Dock is currently home to a couple of dozen houseboats. He said there is room for many more not just in the dock but outside of it, with kilometres of canal available.

“My boat, and several others, is moored on the Grand Canal. We have received notice that Waterways Ireland intends to impound the boats in early July. Waterways Ireland says it will store the boats for one month before selling them. Most people who face this prospect live on their boats. They include families, retirees, and young couples. Like me, some have resorted to staying on a boat due to the astronomical price of accommodation in Dublin.”

Despite numerous conversations with Waterways Ireland, Donelly said the body refuses “to entertain the idea that boats be allowed to moor on the canals in and around Dublin for an extended period”.

A petition calling for the barges to be allowed stay has reached 4,750 signatures at the time of writing. 

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