IFA has welcomed the decision to refer the Labour Party Private Member’s Bill on land access to the Oireachtas Environment Committee. The Bill aims to create public access routes which do not exist, something that would be strenuously opposed by farmers and landowners throughout the country
IFA Hill Committee Chairman Tom Fadian described the Bill as unnecessary, divisive and retrograde, and said it did not recognise the progress made by Comhairle na Tuaithe in fostering co-operation and consultation.
Tom Fadian said conflict issues that existed a number of years ago have been resolved through the introduction of the Walks Scheme. This scheme has created up to 40 walks and the maintenance is undertaken by farmers.
“The recent launch of the Beara-Breifne Way from West Cork to North Leitrim, by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, highlights the importance of co-operation between the various interests including landowners in the development of walks. This is the way forward, rather than introducing legislation which infringes on the rights of landowners.”
The IFA Hill Committee Chairman said, “The introduction of this Bill would have been a major setback to the good work of Comhairle na Tuaithe over the past number of years. Walks have been created through the goodwill of farmers and landowners and the various agencies involved in recreational tourism”.