Landowners’ legislation: ‘Must be passed without delay’

The announcement that legislation will be introduced to indemnify landowners in the event of hill walkers having an accident and making a claim has been welcomed by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, announced his plans during a recent RTE interview.

He said: “I want to do this, the department wants to do this and the Government wants to do this.

Why should any farmer, if there’s a claim against him and his land is being used, have to put his land or his home at risk to defend a case in the courts?

“That’s the legislation I’m working on now and I’m hoping to be able to roll that out and to get it into the Dail fairly quickly this year,” the minister told the state broadcaster last weekend.

The IFA’s National Hill Committee chairman, Flor McCarthy, has welcomed the news.

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 and we would be hopeful that his bill gets cross-party support.

The 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 funding will add to the network, and will bring another 2,000 farmers into the scheme.