“Houseboat” removed from Grand Canal by Waterways Ireland

A number of publications, including the Irish Times and report on the sob story of a man who, unwilling to live with his parents during the lurgy outbreak of 2020/1, decided to build a “houseboat” to live on.

In reality, what he built was a garden shed on 30 plastic barrels strapped together and covered by sheeting. From

” ‘It’s floating on 30 220L barrels. Big blue drums, but you can’t see the blue drums; I’ve built this metal sheeting around it, it just looks like the normal hull of a boat.’ “

The Irish Times article (paywall so I didn’t link) mentions that the owner of this contraption is a Kildare County Council employee, unable to afford rent.

One would have thought that an employee of the relevant authority for enforcement of building regulations and planning permission would have understood the need for compliance with regulations specific to the project in question and that the relevant authority (in this case Waterways Ireland) can determine an entity on their property to be non compliant.

There is the wider issue of the canal system being used as a location for houseboats for permanent living – something I disagree with. In this case, the individual in question has taken to thumbing his nose at the requirement for a canal boat to move frequently to a new degree – his “boat” does not possess an engine. Whilst I am not a lawyer, does this mean that it is not a boat, even if it did structurally comply with WI’s definition of that term?

I have no time for State overreach and bully boy tactics – however, on this occasion, the State (WI) has acted correctly and I support them in doing so.