The Rural Independent TDs are calling on the government to extend the period where a ‘right of way’ can be registered, without the need for court approval,
They want the extension for a further six-year period, provided the affected landowner does not object.
Otherwise, the group of TDs has said that the changes brought in under the 2009 legislation would mean the existing registration rules end on November 30, 2021, creating a “complex and potentially expensive legal nightmare for many landowners”.
Leader of the Rural Independent group, deputy Mattie Mc Grath stated: “Our offices have been receiving a large volume of calls from anxious landowners surrounding the impending deadline to the registration of ‘right of ways’, before a new system begins where lengthy and expensive court orders may be needed.
“The benefit of registering a right of way is that it is protected from becoming extinguished.
“It will also be extremely helpful if you choose to sell your property in the future as a new purchaser will almost certainly want the right of way registered,” the deputy added.
Challenges with a right of way
The political grouping said that for many landowners who have registered a ‘right of way’, there will be no change from December 1, 2021.
However they stress that for others, the new changes will present a very significant challenge.
Many ‘right of ways’ across the country remain unregistered, despite these being in daily use.
Deputy McGrath continued: “Significantly, the pandemic restrictions have caused enormous delays in making applications to have ‘right of ways’ registered, due to a myriad of factors, including not being able to call to a neighbour to discuss an application or to get a form signed.
“Alarmingly, even the current application process to register a ‘right of way’ is overly complex and bureaucratic in nature.
“This is causing a major problem, as the property registration authority of Ireland (PRAI) is reporting that 70% of current applications are being rejected due to incomplete paperwork,” he added.
The Rural Independent Group is calling for a six-year extension to the current registration system.
“It would be very wrong for the government to bounce farmers and landowners into a situation where registrations of ‘right of ways’ would be forced to go before the courts, rather than allow for an extension of the paper based administrative registration system, if the ‘right of way’ is not in dispute,” deputy McGrath continued.
“Right of ways are complex, especially ownership of the roadway, path, or other route of ‘right of way’ divided between a number of different owners. Thus, there is an urgent need to grant an extension and avoid an expensive, legal nightmare emerging for many ‘right of way’ owners.
“In order to avoid a potential avalanche of disputes and unnecessary complexity, we are calling on the government to immediately grant an extension well beyond the November 30 date,” he continued.
The group of TDs has called on Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien to intervene, and make changes to the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 and the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011, in order to sanction the extension.