News 2014

Title: News Release – ‘RTE Prime Time, a public dis-service’
Date: 29/04/2014
System Date: 29/04/2014
For Immediate Release: 29/04/2014

RTE Prime Time producers plan to proceed tonight with a Prime Time debate focused on the ‘right to roam’. Incredibly, RTE has not included any recreational user group in this debate. Despite Mountaineering Ireland, one of 3 recreational user groups that represent outdoor recreational and sporting enthusiasts on Comhairle na Tuaithe (the countryside council), assisting and expressing their availability for the show RTE has not invited them to participate in the panel. It is clear that RTE Prime Time is more interested in generating a ‘punch and judy’ style show rather than addressing the real issues and have those that have a mandate to represent recreational enthusiasts participate. 

Karl Boyle, CEO of Mountaineering Ireland said that “RTE Prime Time is showing a total disrespect to all those that participate in outdoor recreation by not having their representatives invited to the Prime Time panel.” He added, “There are issues that have not been progressed by this or the previous government and have left all stakeholders stuck in a time warp. A national indemnity scheme for hill-farmers was promised, a mountain access scheme was promised and yet the progress on these and other commitments has been nothing short of glacial”.

The vast majority of private landowners in mountain areas freely allow recreational use of their land. Public enjoyment of the countryside for recreation, whether based on a legal framework or not, will always rely on co-operation between a range of stakeholders including private and public landowners, recreation groups, the public, tourism providers and community interests. With appropriate support and investment, our growing outdoor recreation sector will deliver not only significant health and well-being benefits to participants, but also social and much-needed economic contributions to rural communities.

The policy of Mountaineering Ireland is that we are actively seeking reasonable access to unenclosed mountain and coastal areas and a network of paths allowing for access to these areas for responsible users. Mountaineering Ireland fully recognises landowners’ rights. The membership of Mountaineering Ireland has no wish to wander on arable or improved land, go through farmyards or walk past farmers’ front doors. It is the freedom of the hills we seek, not blind alleys of confrontation.



1.Mountaineering Ireland exists to represent and support the walkers and climbers of Ireland and to be a voice for the sustainable use of Ireland’s mountains and all the places (coastline, crags, forests) we use. Mountaineering Ireland represents more than 11,500 members, comprising over 160 clubs and 1,300 individual members.
2.Mountaineering Ireland formed in 1971 and it is recognised as the National Governing Body for by both the Irish Sports Council and Sport Northern Ireland
3. Mountaineering Ireland will have representatives in the Prime Time audience.

If you missed the Prime Time programme on access you can view it online through the RTE Player