Boat owners in court for mooring too long

Published: 28 Jun 2012 13:001 comment

Waterways Ireland has fired a warning shot across the bow of boat owners who breach the Lough Erne Bye-laws.

Parking restrictions apply to boats moored at public jetties like this one at the Round 'O' .<<

There are no double yellow lines on the lake but there are parking restrictions -- and even a warden to police them and keep the traffic flowing.

In the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland two local boat owners have appeared at Fermanagh Court charged with mooring their cruisers at a public jetty for longer than the permitted 48 hours.

The test case was brought by Waterways Ireland, the inter-governmental organisation responsible for managing the Erne for recreational purposes.

Boat owners Laurence Connor, of Rossdoney, Bellanaleck, and Barry Mohan, of Featherbed Glade, Enniskillen, were accused of tying their cruisers up at the Round O in Enniskillen for more than two days.

Mr. Simon Reid, the barrister instructed by Waterways Ireland, told the court that both men had admitted the offence by formal letters from their respective solicitors.

He explained that these were Connor and Mohan's first offences under the bye-laws and invited District Judge Austin Kennedy to deal with them by way of a caution.

"They have undertaken to abide by the bye-laws in future," stated Mr. Reid.

He then formally withdrew the summonses against Connor and Mohan, explaining that Waterways Ireland "has only brought the prosecutions with reluctance, but non-compliance (with the bye-laws) has become prevalent of late".

Speaking afterwards, Dawn Livingstone, head of Waterways Ireland's property and legal section, said the case was brought to prove a point.

"There would have been a perception that we had no powers," said Mrs. Livingstone. "That there was nothing we could do about it."

Those powers were delegated to it by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, which owns Lough Erne.

She said that having made the point Waterways Ireland did not intend to go down the path of "wholesale prosecutions" but wanted to encourage boat owners to adhere to the bye-laws. She stressed that the vast majority abide by the rules.

Mrs. Livingstone said it had been forced to take action because of a "steady stream of complaints" over the past four or five years from people unable to find mooring spaces around Enniskillen. There are about 100 berths at public jetties in the town, provided by Waterways Ireland so that people travelling by boat can pull in and visit Enniskillen's shops, pubs, restaurants and other amenities.

"Everyone wants to come to Enniskillen," explained Mrs. Livingstone. "It's good for business in the town. You can stay for two days and then have to move off and not return within four hours."

Waterways Ireland monitors boat traffic and estimates that the 100 berths currently available are sufficient to meet demand. The problem is that at peak summer times up to 60 of those spaces can be occupied by locally owned boats, some of them tied up there for the entire season. Mooring at a public jetty is free but mooring at a private jetty or marina can typically cost £650 a year. Public jetties are also in prime locations within easy access of the town. The temptation has been for local boat owners to use them as private moorings.

"We want to send out a clear message to boat owners to get a private mooring," said Mrs. Livingstone.

Waterways Ireland's Lough Erne Warden can't issue parking tickets but he can serve notices on people who leave their boat at a public jetty for longer than 48 hours. As the test case proves, people who ignore the notices can be taken to court and prosecuted.

The maximum fine is currently £50 but Waterways Ireland is working to have that increased and the bye-law changed so that instead of having to move away from a jetty for four hours before returning, a boat will have to move a distance of three kilometres.

Mrs. Livingstone said the road to court was a long one.

Initially letters were sent to the owners of boats that had been moored at a public jetty for more than 48 hours, advising them that they were in breach of the bye-laws. A condition of the bye-laws is that boats with engines of more than 10hp have display a registration number. This enables the warden to identify the owner. There are around 5,000 boats registered on Lough Erne.

If the initial letter brought no response a second warning letter was sent. Waterways Ireland then either visited or telephoned the boat owner. Prosecution was the final stage of the process.

Mrs. Livingstone said the court case had proved the point. "We do have powers. We can successfully bring a prosecution," she warned.

Jump to first paragraph.

Comments

comments powered by Disqus

Get more stories from our Roundup section

16 Apr 2014 22:30 • Editorial Department

In tomorrow's Impartial Reporter read:

How a woman has been convicted of sexually assaulting a man after touching him and trying to give him a love bite.

Social: Comments0 comments

16 Apr 2014 19:30

Arrest warrant for convicted shoplifter

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 33-year-old convicted shoplifter.

Social:

16 Apr 2014 17:00

Driver convicted of possession of drug after cannabis was found in car

The 32-year-old driver of a car from which there was a strong smell of cannabis has admitted unlawfully having the Class B drug.

Social:

16 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Comment - Shona Morrison - Feeling blue over the lack of support for autism awareness

Our wee county of Fermanagh has a great deal going for it right now.

Social: Comments0 comments

16 Apr 2014 12:20

Police probe confrontation between cyclists and motorist

A man was reportedly assaulted during a confrontation between a motorist and a group of cyclists on the Sligo Road in Enniskillen.

Social:

16 Apr 2014 09:00

Local politicians meet Creamery officials to discuss closure

Ulster Unionist Assembly member for Fermanagh & South Tyrone, Tom Elliott MLA, and local Councillors, Robert Mulligan and Neil Somerville have met with the management of Fivemiletown Creamery to highlight their concerns over the closure of the creamery.

Social:

15 Apr 2014 22:00

Man took wife's car without permission

A 35-year-old man has been fined £425 and banned from driving for three months after he took his wife’s car without her permission.

Social:

15 Apr 2014 19:00

Police asking for your help with road safety through social media

Police in Fermanagh and other parts of F District are asking everyone who uses the roads to promote safety messages through social media over the next three Bank Holiday Mondays.

Social:

15 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Opinion - Kylie Noble - Can’t stand the rain? Thank heavens for our water supply

In Fermanagh I don’t think there is anything that causes so much anger and frustration than the weather; specifically the abundance of rain.

Social: Comments0 comments

15 Apr 2014 13:00

Hospital detention order against mentally ill man on attempted murder charge

A mentally ill man who bludgeoned his elderly uncle over the head with a hammer until he thought he was dead has been committed to hospital indefinitely.

Social:

15 Apr 2014 11:30

Don't forget to recycle your Easter egg packaging

Enjoying your chocolate egg but don't know what to do with the packaging?

Social:

15 Apr 2014 09:00

Homes evacuated in security alert in Fintona

POLICE are dealing with a security alert in Fintona, County Tyrone, after an incident in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday).

Social:

14 Apr 2014 22:00

Businessman failed to demolish apartments

A 44-year-old businessman has been fined £500 for failing to knock down a block of apartments that pose a danger to drivers.

Social:

14 Apr 2014 19:00

Council reminder to householders about risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Fermanagh District Council is encouraging householders to have their heating appliances, which have been well used over the winter, serviced and chimneys cleaned to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.

Social:

14 Apr 2014 16:00

Sentence deferred for six months against disorderly man

A 28-year-old man involved in a fight outside a pub claimed remarks had been made about his former partner.

Social:

14 Apr 2014 13:00 • Meadhbh Monahan

Tourism businesses work harder to get visitors off the beaten track

Fermanagh tourism providers have to “work harder” because the county is “not the first choice destination.”

Social: Comments0 comments

14 Apr 2014 11:00 • Brian Donaldson

Sam uncovers broken hearted grandmother’s letter after son’s Great War death

The mother of a soldier serving in the First World War, had to resort to writing for financial help after her son died as result of the appalling conditions right at the end of the War in November 1918.

Social: Comments0 comments

14 Apr 2014 09:30 • Lily Dane

The positive attitude of the bride who developed same cancer as her brother

An inspirational young Fermanagh woman, Rachel Wilson (formerly Byers) was only married a matter of months when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Social: Comments0 comments

14 Apr 2014 08:21

Single mother stole from employer of over 11 years

A 28-year-old single mother who betrayed the trust of her employer of over 11 years by stealing from his shop has been given 200 hours of community service.

Social:

13 Apr 2014 16:00 • Editorial Department

Local players share the Bridge Congress spoils

When the competition hotted up at the 37th Annual Fermanagh Bridge Congress over the weekend, bridge playing talents from the county demonstrated they ‘can hold their own.’

Social: Comments0 comments