Boat owners and residents in the Lecarrow area are calling on Waterways Ireland to ‘have a heart’ and switch the power points back on at the local harbour during the cold winter months.
Donna Pryde, her partner Victor Henry, and fellow boat owner Michael Redmond have displayed an art installation called ‘Have a Heart – Light up Lecarrow Harbour’ for the past few weeks in a bid to raise the profile of their ongoing campaign.
Donna, a New Zealand native, told the Roscommon People this week that the art installation, which features a heart and lights, can only be powered while her boat is running.
“Last year we had ‘Light Up Lecarrow’ but this year I wanted to go bigger,” she said, “I love chatting to the local people who come down for their walk and to enjoy the lights. A lot of people don’t realise that there’s no power here for boaters in the winter”.
Waterways Ireland claim a lack of manpower means power points at the harbour cannot be maintained through the winter, but Donna refutes this argument.
“There is power going to the electric power points and they light up at night. The display screen is also working on them but they’ve specifically cut to the power outlets. I can’t see how it would require a lot of manpower to maintain…just imagine what we could do if we had power,” she said.
The lack of power at Lecarrow Harbour has been an ongoing battle for Donna, who said she has received plenty of support locally.
“Over 200 people signed a petition last year and the local people have been very supportive and welcoming. I am originally from Dunedin in New Zealand but have been living in Ireland for twenty years, the last fourteen on a boat.
“I like staying here in Lecarrow because the harbour offers great shelter and it feels safe. We buy briquettes from Shane Coffey (Coffey’s Stores) and we get a few bits and pieces from Sarah Jane (Coffey’s pub and shop). We’ve been up to the pub a few times too when it was open and we really like it here,” she said.
Donna, Victor and Michael have also raised the issue with local public representatives but have yet to hear positive news.
“This is a great base from which to explore Roscommon, especially when the summer boating season starts in March. When we come through Covid-19, the economy will need all the help it can get and boating tourism in Roscommon should be part of it,” she said.
To highlight the need for power at Lecarrow Harbour and to urge Waterways Ireland to ‘Have a Heart’ this year, the boating trio have been displaying their art installation at limited times this winter.
This evening, they will fire up the ‘Countess Rose’ and light up Lecarrow one last time before taking a break until Valentine’s Day. The display will run from 7 to 8 pm but due to Covid-19 restrictions is only available to those who live within a 5km.
Once restrictions are lifted, new dates and times will be made available so everyone can enjoy the lights and raise the profile of the campaign to give the power back to the boaters who help make Lecarrow Harbour such a welcoming place.