Greystones Harbour Bye Laws

10th September 2014

On Monday, 8th September, the proposed Bye Laws for Greystones Harbour were formally approved (with amendments) by Wicklow County Council. Simply put, Bye Laws outline the rules for harbour use. (See Greystones Bye-Laws DRAFT).

30 members of WCC voted in favour of draft Bye Laws (including myself). Two members voted against. There has been some discussion about this vote and I believe that is it important that I explain why I voted the way I did.

Harbours are usually very active areas, where you have a lot of people trying to use the facility at the same time. On any given day, you could have walkers, joggers, young children on bikes, dogs, fishermen, boats with propellers, kayaks, cars with trailers etc all trying to use a relatively small space. If Harbours are not very carefully managed, they can be very dangerous places.

That is why these Bye Laws are important. Up to now, no one person has had the authority to manage the Harbour and as a result, there have been some serious incidents (such as people being hooked by fishing lines) and some not-so-serious, but still really irritating, incidents such as not keeping dogs under control or picking up dog foul.

When I first read the Bye Laws, I found them confronting and I thought they seemed overly prescriptive. So I did some research.

Prior to voting on these Bye Laws:

  • I spoke to three other Harbour Masters on the east coast;
  • I looked at examples of Bye Laws from neighbouring ports. The Bye laws for Greystones Harbour did not differ greatly from other Bye Laws. For example, Wicklow Port would have many of the same clauses in it (see Wicklow Port Bye Laws);
  • I spoke to my colleagues and County officials;
  • I spoke to fishermen and other members of the community about them, and
  • I reviewed the submissions that came in from the public whilst the Bye Laws were out for consultation.

As a result, I requested a number of amendments to the draft byelaws, as did some of the other Cllrs. In fact, there was a lot of overlap with our concerns and most of us agreed on the changes that we wanted to see.

The amendments were:

  1. A change to the section that required ‘immediate’ removal of fishermens catch off the pier, to giving up to 6 hrs. This gives the fishermen some time for the fishermen to organise transportation of their catch etc.
  2. No paid parking whilst temporary car parking facilities are in place. Clamping will not be allowed.
  3. We removed the wording that did not allow people to gather or meet at the harbour.
  4. Clarity was provided around where beach fishing could happen.
  5. In addition, Sisk have agreed to install bike racks so there is facility to park bikes at the Harbour.

It’s also important to note that children will be able to paddle in the water but swimming will not be allowed without prior consent due to the dangers of people swimming in the boat lanes etc.Draft Bye-Laws Map 2014 (1)

For those that still have concerns about the Bye Laws and their power, I would ask that you give them some time. From what I can see, similar Bye Laws have been working well in neighbouring ports for years without any major issues.

But if, after time and a settling-in period, there are still problems, I am happy to work with you to get them resolved and there is always the potential to amend the Bye Laws.