The Rural and Community Development Ministry said it was continuing to explore options to compensate farmers for the liability of walkers on their land.
Responding to a parliamentary question from MP Niall Collins, Rural and Community Development Minister Heather Humphreys said her department “had been considering how best to introduce a private landowner compensation scheme in the areas for some time. mountainous areas that allow access to their land for recreational purposes ”.
Farmers compensation scheme
Calling it a “complex issue”, the Minister took stock:
“My department has been advised that a compensation scheme such as the one proposed would require legislative provision and that a number of separate pieces of legislation may need to be amended.
“In light of the complexities involved, my officials considered other pilot approaches, including an insurance solution, to address the issue on an interim basis.
“Thanks to this process, a civil liability insurance policy was taken out by my department for both [Scheme] domains, the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks in Kerry and Binn Sléibhe in Galway, and came into effect on August 13, 2021.
“This pilot solution was developed in consultation with Comhairle na Tuaithe and is being implemented on a two-year trial basis.
“The policy represents a substantial step forward on this issue for landowners in the two mountain access project areas concerned. “
The minister added that other options around compensation and potential changes to the Occupiers’ Liability Act will continue to be explored and advanced “as needed over the coming months.”
“My ministry is also engaging more with the Attorney General on this issue,” added the Minister.