Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (196)

Éamon Ó Cuív


196. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the progress made to date regarding legislation to provide an insurance indemnity to farmers who provide access to their hill land for recreational purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24608/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

As the Deputy will be aware, my officials have been working to develop a national scheme to protect private landowners in upland areas from possible claims from recreational users while on their lands. My Department has been advised that the introduction of any such indemnity scheme will require legislation.

My officials met with the Attorney General's Office recently to explore the various options open to the Department and to identify the precise legislation which would be required to implement an indemnity scheme.

This is a complex issue, as it is not possible to define trails on hills and mountains in the same manner as the Way-Marked Trails, and many of the lands are commonages. The legal rights of landowners must also be respected by any scheme, while at the same time trying to maintain access to the lands for recreational users on a permissive access basis. 

In light of the complex issues at stake, I am also considering interim options that might be available to address the matter.  My officials will continue to work to find a resolution that meets the concerns of landowners who provide access to their lands for recreational purposes.