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IFA National Hill Committee Chairman Flor McCarthy has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Rural Affairs Michael Ring that he will bring in legislation that will indemnify landowners in the event of hillwalkers having an accident and making a claim.

Flor McCarthy said this issue has always been of great concern to landowners, particularly the cost involved in defending any case that could arise.

“The Minister has pledged to have this in place in 2019 & we would be hopeful that his bill gets cross-party support.”

The Hill Committee Chairman also welcomed the plan to double the number of farmers in the Walks Scheme.

He said the scheme has proved very attractive in creating walkways around the country and the additional €2m in funding will add to the network, and will bring another two thousand farmers into the scheme.

IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has called on all local authorities to develop plans to address the annual increase in littering of the countryside that takes place post-Christmas, as people recklessly dump cans, bottles, used wrapping paper and even the left overs of Christmas dinners.

Thomas Cooney said, “Recent reports indicate that packaging waste generated from online shopping will increase by 33% this year to 10,000 tonnes. The fact is that this will lead to increased dumping by passing motorists who have no regard for our rural countryside. And it’s time to get tough with these people.”

IFA is calling for more severe sanctions on serial dumpers and changes to the legislation so that farmers are no longer held legally responsible for reckless dumping by others.

Thomas Cooney said, “The on the spot fines for littering introduced this year have not worked. We need increased enforcement action by local authorities, as well as tougher sentences and penalties for large scale serial dumpers.

In a recent meeting with Environment Minister for State Seán Canney T.D., IFA also called for changes to existing litter legislation, by removing the current threat of fines and prosecution of famers on whose land others irresponsibly dump their litter.

IFA President Joe Healy has impressed on Minister for Rural and Community Affairs Michael Ring the need to increase the number of walks covered by the Walks Scheme from 40 to 80, and to increase the funding from €2m to €4m.

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IFA Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman Thomas Cooney has welcomed the support received from TDs and Senators for the Association’s call for changes to current littering laws in Ireland.

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IFA Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman Thomas Cooney has described proposals to increase Garda numbers and expenditure on rural broadband, and the extension of the home renovation incentive, start your own business relief and capital allowances for energy efficient equipment to sole traders including farmers, as “important measures for rural Ireland which must be supported by real action on the ground.”

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