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Water sports enthusiasts slam proposed beach bye-laws

New bylaws to govern the county’s beaches represent a ‘draconian’ measure that will create an impossible situation for Galway’s water sports enthusiasts.

That’s according to a Galway pharmacist and Galway Bay Sailing Club member, Barra Nevin, who told the Connacht Tribune that the Draft Beach Bylaws currently under consideration by the Council would, in effect, make it an offence to do anything other than swim at the county’s over 20 beaches.

Mr Nevin, who is also a member of Galway Windsurfers and regularly surfs, said the bylaws prohibited water sports if a swimmer was in the water.

“It’s creating an impossible situation where water sports participants cannot be in proximity to any swimmer. This will close off the beaches to us – it’s effectively a blanket ban,” he said.

“No one is disputing the need for bylaws to ensure the safety of swimmers, but this was done without any consultation and Galway County Council has produced a 40-page report without consulting any of the interested groups.”

The Draft Beach Bylaws, which are open to public submissions until tomorrow (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.

Mr Nevin said this would render beaches stretching from North Connemara down as far as Portumna out of bounds for water sports.

The Council states in the draft regulations that may, at its discretion, “designate areas of any beach in and at which the use of surf boards and/or kite boards and/or sail boards and/or canoes and kayaks and/or dinghies and/or stand-up paddle boards and/or water bikes is restricted or prohibited”.

See full coverage over two pages in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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