Farming bodies welcome High Court judgment over ‘rights of way’ row

Farmers have become increasingly concerned at attempts by some people to impose rights-of-way where they do not exist, the Irish Farmers Association president, John Bryan, has claimed.

He said it was unfortunate that it had to take a Supreme Court judgment to confirm that public rights-of-way can only be claimed if they actually exist.

Mr Bryan said the way forward for developing recreational tourism is through consultation and agreement between all parties.

Comhairle na Tuaithe is a representative body of all interests that facilitates discussions around access to the countryside, and seeks to address issues of contention without resorting to expensive court cases.” 

Mr Bryan said an example of co-operation between landowners and recreational users is The Walks Scheme, which is running at 40 locations with 2,000 farmers participating.

Irish Creamery Suppliers Association president John Comer said the Supreme Court judgment vindicates the rights to private property.

He said the ICMSA will study carefully the full text of the judgment as soon as it’s available as that will clarify the law on this crucial matter.

Mr Comer said over the years there has been a  build-up of pressure which would transfer property rights from the current owners to others in the form of rights of way and the so-called “right to roam”.

“ICMSA has always co-operated with measures designed to increase access to the countryside provided that landowners’ property rights were respected and protected and that all access was on a voluntary basis, and that remains our position,” he said.


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