on the Web
Keep Ireland Open now have their own web site at www.keepirelandopen.org.
Included on the web is KIO’s policy on access to the countryside etc.
This will be sent to all group members and if you have any views or
suggestions on the policy document please let us know, you can also
contact us at our E-mail address email@example.com
It is our intention to produce this in booklet format and send it to
all members as soon as possible. However if individual members who do
not have access to the internet request a copy now, please contact the
Editor and he will gladly send you a copy.
We attended the Inland Waterways Conference where we made points about
access problems on the Grand Canal. We also attended two Coastwatch
conferences which highlighted access problems to beaches and recently
we attended the Heritage Council Landscape Conference.
County Development Plans
We are monitoring draft plans for all counties with significant wilderness
areas. We have already made submissions in respect of South County Dublin
and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and have succeeded in effecting some improvements.
The draft Wicklow Plan has just been adopted. While we did have some
minor successes, the entire list of public rights of way were removed
at the behest of the landowners. The Council officials maintain that
they are still legal rights of way and have undertaken to review the
position and introduce a partial plan later. However, the Council have
accepted in principle that Special Area Amenity Orders be made for Bray
Head, Little Sugarloaf, Great Sugarloaf and part of the Dargle Valley.
We are also dealing with the Fingal and Donegal draft plans. The Donegal
Draft Plan is most disappointing as it proposes the removal of ALL existing
rights of way to beaches - four pages of them - from the existing plan.
Lobbying of local councillors about this is already underway.
We intend to mount campaigns in September 1999 on the following issues:
- The proliferation of roadside fencing supposedly to protect farm animals.
This problem can be largely solved by speed limits and warning signs.
- The continuing lack of action by local authorities in insisting on
planning applications for new fencing.
- The payment of REPS grants even though the planning laws are being
Many of you may have noticed the new "Welcome to Glenmalure" signs erected
by the Uplands Council. While this is a positive development, surely
what is needed are maps showing access routes through farm land to open
country. Such mapped access routes would facilitate walkers by obviating
the necessity to cross fences and would also be to the advantage of
landowners by channeling walkers into specific routes.
The access to Maheramore beach Co Wicklow is under constant threat and
another parcel of adjoining land is on the market offering "access to
private beach". Following representations by KIO to the auctioneers
the word "private" has been withdrawn from the advertisement.
(Rural Environment Protection Scheme)
Just as the disastrous sheep overstocking policy (purely for handouts)
has been discredited and finally acknowledged by the Government, we
are now faced with another serious problem which is the widespread fencing
of overgrazed areas as a requirement under REPS. This decision is just
as wrongheaded as the first, and is filling the West of Ireland with
eyesore barbed wire, making it impossible in many areas to step off
the road, let alone access the upland areas without the risk of injury
and damage to clothing. KIO is presently lobbying to have this requirement
dropped on logical grounds: less or no sheep = no need for fencing.
We have set up a useful contact with the Country Sports Concern Group,
which has produced a most impressive report on the REPS wire fencing
issue. The group is lobbying Government for its removal, so we can make
common cause here. There are also signs of discontent among the sheep
farming community (REPS fencing is costing them money), and we will
be seeking to work along with them. On this major issue we are on the
Some of the access problems we face are listed below and we will shortly
be making fact-finding visits to investigate at first hand the problems
at: Benweisken (Sligo/Leitrim), Glen Inagh (Connemara), Cliffs of Moher
(Co Clare) and the south side of Kylemore Lake (Co Galway). If any member
has recent information on any of these , please ring Dr. Tom Rea at
093-35523 or E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ughool beach closure - We are in correspondence with the Ombudsman about
the unreasonable exercise of discretionary power by Mayo County Council.
We now await his decision. Incidentally it is now two years since we
went to the Ombudsman, and the delay is largely due to the footdragging
of the County Council in furnishing information requested by the Ombudsman’s
A meeting is arranged with the Senior Executive Planner of the Mayo,
County Council to discuss the illegal fencing at Durless, Drummin and
Skelp. We will also be meeting the landowner at Delphi/Doolough to discuss
very unwelcome fencing in this area.
Access to mountains via Kylemore Abbey grounds; a meeting will take
place shortly with the management to pin down a verbal agreement that
walkers will not be charged the entrance fee.
A study group are looking into the Commonage Framework Plans being proposed
by the Depts. of Agriculture and of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the
It looks likely that the final chapter of this saga is now being written
by An Bord Pleanala following the recent oral hearing. We have made
an observation to the Bord in support of the MCI’s objection to this
Eamon O’Cuiv, Minister for State at the Department of Arts, Heritage,
Gaeltacht and the Islands. We outlined our position on the fencing provision
in REPS. We are hopeful of some progress on the fencing issue. A meeting
also took place with officials from the Department of Agriculture on
the same issue where we pointed out the inadequacy of the access option
under REPS and the problems with fencing.
Congratulation to our Treasurer, Jacinta Moore on her recent election
as Secretary of An Óige. We wish her every success in her new position.
Seamus Mac Gearailt, Chairman 01-2840322 and Newsletter Editor: email:
Michael Carroll, Secretary 01-4943221
Jacinta Moore, Treasurer 01-2988974
Michael Murphy, Sec.Connacht 098-25068
items: material for the newsletter is very much appreciated by email
or on disk in most formats. It saves a lot of typing!
If you would like to inform us of any problems in your area please email us at
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