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Houseboat Living Proposed in Ireland to Address Housing Shortage

DUBLIN: Houseboats line Ireland’s canals and waterways, providing homes for singles and families alike. The vision of widespread houseboat living in Ireland may soon become a reality.

Parliamentary committee discussions suggest that the government is considering houseboats as a solution to Ireland’s housing crisis. However, the project has been delayed by lengthy planning permission processes, which currently take five to seven years. Waterways Ireland informed the committee that living on barges and houseboats would be ideal for small families, elderly couples, and singles.

Waterways Ireland has announced that a draft plan is ready, aimed at providing accommodation on the canals. Initially, 170 houseboats are being considered, but issues surrounding planning, land, and ownership need to be addressed. Suitable locations for developing marinas for houseboats must also be identified.

Eanna Rowe, Operations Controller for Waterways Ireland, reiterated that the project would take five to seven years to secure planning permission.

Currently, there are three locations for houseboat living: Kildare, Shannon Harbour, and Grand Canal Dock in Dublin. These locations offer service moorings with water and electricity connections for each houseboat. Additionally, Dublin’s Grand Canal has a waste collection system, with a pump-out station installed opposite the marina. Waterways Ireland noted that these services are provided in various ways, depending on the location.

Green Party TD Marc O’Cathasaigh supports houseboat living as a solution to the housing problem. He highlighted that barge living is popular in cities like Amsterdam, Manchester, London, and Birmingham. O’Cathasaigh shared that he knows a couple who have happily lived on a houseboat for many years and urged the committee to consider expanding such projects.

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