Supporting Local News

Campaigners seek state support to challenge beach bylaws

Campaigners against controversial beach bylaws proposed by the County Council have called on Government to intervene. This comes after the local authority was met with a tsunami of submissions from the public – over 1,000 submissions were received, many voicing concerns that the regulations would ban water sports on the county’s coastline.

Galway pharmacist and Galway Bay Sailing Club member, Barra Nevin, has been one of the most outspoken critic of the bylaws which seek to outlaw activities such as surfing and kayaking anywhere near bathers.

According to Mr Nevin, there has been a groundswell of support for water sports enthusiasts, with everyone from swimmers to those who walk the coastline backing their right to use the water.

“The central problem surrounds the paragraph which states other outdoor sports participants cannot be in close proximity to swimmers. This would effectively outlaw all outdoor water pursuits other than swimming on 24 beaches in County Galway, including the lake in Loughrea, the Shannon in Portumna and all along the Wild Atlantic Way to Connemara and the Aran Islands,” he said.

The bylaws, for which an extended public consultation closed last Friday, state: “No person shall wind surf on sail boards or kite-surf on kite boards or surf on a surf board or use a canoe, kayak, dinghy, stand-up paddle board or water bike in close proximity to bathers.”

In addition, it will also be an offence to “use a personal water craft, power craft and fast power craft within 300m of the low water mark at the time of use, except for the purpose of rescue”, in the interest of the safety of swimmers.

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