News 2013

Title: Supreme Court Judgement - Lissadell and Public Rights of Way
Date: 12/11/2013
System Date: 12/11/2013
A preliminary review of the lengthy judgement in the Lissadell public rights of way case indicates that no new principle of law has been established by the Supreme Court. It seems from the judgment that the burden of proof is set unreasonably high against anyone asserting a public right of way anywhere in the Republic of Ireland.

Even if that burden of proof was lower, it is important to recognise that public rights of way would not deliver the extent of access that is desired by Mountaineering Ireland members, or the recreation community in general. The policy of Mountaineering Ireland is that we are actively seeking reasonable access to unenclosed mountain and coastal areas, and a network of routes allowing for access to these areas for responsible users.

There is need for fresh debate on how balance can be achieved between the property and privacy rights of landowners on one hand, and on the other the need for the people of Ireland to have reasonable access to the countryside for responsible recreation. There are many dimensions to the access issue and focusing on public rights of way alone will not advance matters. Mountaineering Ireland urges the Government to review the wider issue of recreation management in the Irish countryside.

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