Call for legislation change after ruling
COUNCILLOR WANTS PROTECTION FOR LANDOWNERS AFTER WICKLOW WAY CASE
one of the old railway sleepers that made up a boardwalk just below the JB Malone memorial on the Sally Gap to Djouce trail near Roundwood.
Reacting to the High Court decision, Charlotte Rosemond, Acting Communications Officer for Wicklow Uplands Council, said; ‘Wicklow Uplands Council has worked tirelessly for the last 20 years in fostering good relations between landowners and recreational users of the uplands, developing sustainable recreational opportunities and establishing agreed access routes across private lands.
‘ This case has generated huge interest and importantly recreational users and the wider public have huge shown huge support for farmers, landowners and families who depend on tourism.
‘ The Wicklow Uplands are a phenomenal recreation area for thousands of citizens. The Wicklow Way in particular is a world-renowned tourist attraction that brings thousands of visitors to the country and county every year.
‘ To close this amenity would have disastrous effects on national and local tourism. Mr Justice Michael White recognised that diligence is expected from hillwalkers when walking on mountain trails.’
The Cathaoirleach of Arklow Municipal District, Cllr Pat Kennedy, has also greeted the High Court’s decision to reverse the award of €40,000 in damages.
‘As a rural councillor, I was delighted to see the High Court reverse this decision,’ said Cllr Kennedy.
‘Had the original decision been upheld there was a real concern that the Wicklow Way would begin to disappear due to landowners withdrawing their consent to allow walkers on their property due to understandable fears about litigation. This would have had serious implications for the tourism industry in Wicklow,’ he said.
Cllr Kennedy said that this process has highlighted a major concern for countryside recreation and rural tourism.
‘A change in legislation is required to ensure appropriate protection for the landowners involved in the Wicklow Way. I know many of these landowners personally, indeed many are my own neighbours, and their concerns around this case are fully justified,’ said Cllr Kennedy.
‘Currently a landowner’s responsibility towards recreational users is defined by the Occupiers’ Liability Act, 1995 and this entire case has shown that this Act needs to be reviewed in order to protect landowners from claims such as this. A common sense approach is necessary and walkers must take the countryside as they find it if it is to remain open to all,’ he said. LOLLY is female terrier mix who is about one year old. She came into Sharpeshill with nine puppies, some of which are still looking for homes. She has been the most fantastic mother, patient and kind, but now that her pups are weaned she herself will be looking for a home. She is so friendly to everyone and would be a brilliant companion.
If you can offer a forever home, contact the office at (0404) 44783 or call in during opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays and Bank Holidays from 1.30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The JB Malone memorial above Lough Tay in the Wicklow Mountains National Park.