Saturday 21 October 2017

Robert Dowds: Opening up Ireland's countryside would pay off for local economy

The Lissadell judgement highlights the need to reform our land access laws, writes Robert Dowds

Robert Dowds

The judgement given by the Supreme Court last week in the Lissadell case has shown beyond any doubt the need to reform our land access laws, and by doing so, we could reap huge benefits in terms of jobs, health and tourism. Ireland has the most restrictive land access laws in Europe, and after the judgement last week, we are likely to see very many more paths and walkways being closed off.

While some important work has been done in isolated parts of the country to improve walking paths, the progress of many projects has been very slow. In the case of the successful Green Way in Mayo, these paths depend on voluntary agreement which can be withdrawn, which would scupper very valuable tourist walking routes.

After last week's judgement, this matter needs to be rectified for both Irish people and for the estimated 750,000 tourists who visit Ireland every year hoping to do some walking.

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