News 2013

Recreation in the Irish Countryside
Title: New leaflet on access and liability welcome, but failures of Comhairle na Tuaithe visible
Date: 23/09/2013
System Date: 23/09/2013
Below you will find a link to Recreation in the Irish Countryside, an information leaflet about access and occupiers’ liability in the Republic of Ireland. This leaflet has been published by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government on behalf of Comhairle na Tuaithe (the Countryside Council). The aim of this leaflet is to make the undisputed facts regarding access and liability available to landowners and everyone who uses the countryside for recreation.

Readers can have confidence in the contents of this leaflet as, not only has it been issued by the State, it has also been endorsed by the members of Comhairle na Tuaithe, who include Mountaineering Ireland and the farmers’ representative organisations. All users of the countryside have a responsibility to be familiar with and understand this information. Property rights and access, rights of way, the responsibility of recreational users and occupiers’ liability are all covered in the leaflet and supported by examples from case law. Over the years,some landowners have voiced their concern about the lack of definitive information published by the State on these matters. This leaflet corrects that deficiency and hopefully this information will now be widely distributed to landowners by their representative organisations.

Lack of commitment

While an output like this from Comhairle na Tuaithe is highly positive, it would be remiss of us not to inform members that, overall, Comhairle na Tuaithe is not performing. It appears that resources are not necessarily the issue, but rather a lack of political and departmental interest. It is with disappointment that Mountaineering Ireland has learned that Des Moore, the senior member of the Rural Recreation Section that administers Comhairle na Tuaithe, has tendered his resignation due to a lack of support for the section and the priorities of Comhairle na Tuaithe. Des Moore has been dedicated to outdoor recreation over the past number of years and the reasons behind his imminent departure raise considerable doubt about the future of Comhairle na Tuaithe. On behalf of Mountaineering Ireland, I would like to thank him for his considerable efforts to date.

Mountaineering Ireland has communicated its concerns to Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, who has responsibility for Comhairle na Tuaithe. A meeting with the Minister has also been requested to determine his and his department’s commitment to outdoor recreation and the delivery of Comhairle na Tuaithe’s objectives.

Hard copies of the leaflet are available to clubs and they will also be available at the Autumn Gathering.