Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (607)

Martin Heydon


607. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the progress made on the mountain access programme to provide insurance indemnity to landowners that provide access for hillwalkers; the interim measures being considered in view of the delays with progressing the issue of legislation in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37619/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department has been working for some time to develop a scheme to indemnify private land owners, particularly in upland areas, with regard to the use of their lands for recreational purposes.  This is a complex issue and the legal rights of landowners must be respected, while trying to facilitate access to their lands for recreational users on a permissive basis. 

My Department has been advised that an indemnity scheme such as the one envisaged will require legislative provision.  In this context, my officials met with the Attorney General's Office to explore the various options open to the Department and to identify the precise legislation which would require to be introduced to implement such a scheme.  It appears that a number of separate pieces of legislation could require amendment.

In light of the complexity involved, I am also considering other options that might be available to address the matter as an interim measure.  My officials have been making enquiries into alternative options and will continue to work to find a solution that meets the concerns of landowners who provide access to their lands for recreational purposes.