The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland has given the green light to go ahead with the setting up of a local Branch of the IWAI (River Suck Navigation Branch), which will raise the profile and represent the users of the local waterways.
With the Suck to Shannonbridge Navigational channel installed in the late 90s and operational for cruiser traffic in 1999 there has been a noticeable stagnation of user traffic to the towns two Marinas by both hire and owner craft in the last few seasons.
Many locals have been frustrated with lack of small craft slips and occasional boating access. The establishment an Inland Waterways Association Suck Branch maybe be good platform to address some of these deficiencies.
The IWAI is Irelands largest organisation of water users and the benefit of having a local branch is to unite all users of the river and foster a community that can help each other and encourage social activity on the Suck. The main objective is to get boat owners and people & tourists who hire boats to be made aware that the river and the town has loads to offer and it will be a highlight of any trip along the Shannon.
Graham Bartlett the man who is spearheading the new local branch set up states “We have a wonderful Marina in town and it’s very much under-utilised, an increase in traffic on the suck will increase visitors to the town and all its shops, bars, restaurants etc. Ballinasloe should be the hotspot to visit to go fishing, shopping, to dine out, and maybe have a few drinks.”
A local branch will also result in the likes of Boat Rallies and other activities such as walks, hikes, talks being arranged. The IWAI publishes and distributes a magazine 4 times a year in which each branch gets a page dedicated to reporting on local issues and promoting what’s on offer.
You don’t have to be a boat owner, or fishing permit holder to become a new member.
The branch hopes to get set up in the early part of the year. Bartlett added “I hope the formation of the local branch will have a good level of local membership. I would also like to see local businesses participating in the promotion as ultimately it will benefit them also.”
If anyone would like to be part of the project you can send a message to the Facebook page ‘River Suck Navigation Branch (IWAI) Start up’ to express your interest.
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