A petition has been started to allow for additional residential and commercial barges in Portobello, with the possibility of a rooftop cafe on one of them.
The campaign has been set up by barge owner Gary Long, who feels that issuing permits for 'two to three residential boats and one commercial permit for a barge and rooftop cafe' will help to alleviate anti-social behaviour in the area.
In his petition, Gary writes to Waterways Ireland: 'The signatures on this petition are requesting Waterways Ireland to issue continuous mooring permits for two to three residential boats and one commercial permit for a barge & rooftop cafe in Portobello, Dublin 8.
'The issue of antisocial behaviour has been prevalent in Portobello Harbour in recent times. Many Portobello residents feel that a presence on the water, by way of a barge community, will help alleviate some of the unwanted gatherings which take place nightly on the canalside. This proposed mooring would breathe new life into the empty and poorly lite stretches adjacent to Portobello Habour. Furthermore, it will add visually to the area and increase the sense of community for both land and water residence.
'Businesses and the local economy have faced a very difficult time over this last 3 to 4 months and many have been closed for long periods of time, with some businesses having recently reopened and others planning to reopen over the coming weeks.
'This is also an opportunity as a society to reflect on the use of public space and to possibly reimagine our use of, and relationship with, that space, so that we can reopen our society and city with renewed hope as we recover from the exceptional challenges posed by Covid-19.
'There is a black barge moored at Portobello for several months and would like to remain here continuously with the option of getting a commercial permit at the dock in the near future. We are asking for your help in making this a reality for portobello.'
Gary also told FM104 that "the boats would really enhance the area visually, it could also provide a greater sense of community on the water. An awful lot of studies have shown that the more legitimate businesses in an area, antisocial behaviour decreases. It would also clean up the area along the canal. A presence there prevents so many people urinating when they're drinking. Urination on the square is a huge problem in Portobello, especially for the residents of the apartments and on the surrounding streets."
Gary is aiming to acquire 3,000 signatures on his petition before presenting it to Waterways Ireland. At the time of writing, over 2,000 people have signed and you can have a look at the petition yourself via this link.