October 1998 Newsletter

National Issues:

Access Day
Following the success of last years event, it was decided to nominate Sunday 1st November for the 1998 access day.

Position Papers
Following on from the AGM, we are working on developing a set of position papers dealing with the main issues faced by KIO, which are:
1. Access for Recreation
2. Rights of Way
3. Freedom to Roam
4. Fencing and Commonage Division
5. Occupiers Liability
The purpose of the position papers is to clearly set out the current situation, the legal position, the possible courses of action, and official KIO policy on each of these issues. To date none of these things have been formally defined, and neither our members, nor anybody else has known for sure what KIO's position is.
When the committee have agreed draft versions of the papers, they will be circulated to all members for comment.

Sustainable Forestry
Coillte are developing a policy on Sustainable Forest Management, and we were invited to comment on the first draft. The issues that we raised included the early closure of forest car parks, management of conflicts between walkers, mountain bikers, horse riders and motorbikes, barbed wire fences, path maintenance and the generally poor standard of visitor facilities.

Landscape Forum
We attended the national landscape forum in September. We made our points about fencing and division of commonage, and the visual intrusion caused by erection of sheep sheds , mobile phone aerials and wind turbines in sensitive areas.

Leinster

Wicklow Uplands Council
The WUC has been quite busy over the summer. A major boost has been the granting of 25,000 from the Heritage Council. This funding will be used to hire an administrator for 9 months to get a permanent structure for the Council in place for the following 5 years. Other news includes progress on twinning with the Mournes Trust, signs soon to be erected in Glenmalure and an agreed submission on the draft Development Plan.

Draft Wicklow Development Plan
This was published in July, and contained some very good proposals in relation to access. It included a list of 16 public rights of way and a second list of 33 access routes to amenity areas. The purpose of the second list is to provide a level of protection to important routes that are not widely accepted as rights of way. KIO made a submission in support of this proposal but suggesting that proper consultation with landowners to avoid a backlash. There is along way to go until the plan is adopted, and we will be lobbying friendly councillors to ensure that the access provisions are retained.

Glending Woods, Blessington, Co.Wicklow
A Bord Pleanala oral hearing was held in July and KIO were represented. As you are probably aware the Bord refused planning permission for further quarrying, and as a result the amenities and environment of Glending have been saved (for the time being!). White Hill, Co.Wicklow A report has just come in about a keep out sign to the east of White Hill just beyond the forestry at Ballinastoe.

Connaught / Ulster

Oghool Beach, Co Mayo
We had a most successful protest at Oghool in June which was attended by approximately 200 people. In spite of a "welcoming group" from the local IFA the protest went off peacefully. We received much positive local and national media coverage. Our thanks to members for your support.
Following this event, we received word that the local sergeant was going to mediate with the landowner. However, after 4 months nothing has happened and it has been concluded that further action is required. We are therefore exploring legal and European Commission possibilities.

Glen Inagh, Co Galway
Signs have appeared at the road into this glen declaring it to be private and possibly denying access for the public. The cause of the problem appears to be inconsiderate parking, and we are exploring ways of defusing the issue.

Dolough, Co Mayo
Despite an agreement with Delphi Lodge which accepted the case for some limited fencing around a house near the southern end of Doolough, the whole stretch along by the river has been fenced. While the owner claims to have no intention of denying access for walkers to Mweelrea, it is not clear to walkers that they can cross the fence. Discussions are ongoing and we may have to ask the council to act on the planning permission.

Skelp and Durles, Co Mayo
These illegal fences have been there far too long. We are seeking legal advice to see how we can progress matters.

Beach at Inver, Co Donegal
Access is being denied and we are in correspondence with the council.

Munster

Mullaghmore, Co Clare
In spite of our letter to minister deValera Duchas (formerly NPWS) has appealed the decision to refuse planning permission to an Bord Planeala.

Castlegregory, Co Kerry
Finally some positive developments in the long standing saga about fencing at Maherabeg. The Council are requiring much of the fencing which was erected without permission to be re-erected further from the road and much of the barbed wire has to be replaced by ordinary wire. In addition stiles and gates are required. This represents a partial victory for the efforts of KIO and Catherine McMullan in Tralee.

Cloghane, Co Kerry
An illegal fence has been erected denying access to a major section of the Brandon ridge on one side of the road and preventing access by anglers to lakes and rivers on the other side. In conjunction with the fishery owners we have taken this matter up with the Council

Three Castles Head, Co Cork
The issue of access restrictions to the old castle near Goleen is being pursued with the help of a new member in Cork.

Political Developments

All has been quiet on the political front for the past few months. The Miscellaneous Department (of Arts, Heritage, Culture, Gaeltacht and the Islands) has gone into hibernation on the SAC and NHA issue, and very little appears to be happening on anything else.

KIO Contacts
Seamus Mac Gearailt, Chairman 01-2840322 and Newsletter Editor: email: randod@indigo.ie
Michael Carroll, Secretary 01-4943221
Jacinta Moore, Treasurer 01-2988974
Michael Murphy, Sec.Connacht 098-25068

News items: material for the newsletter is very much appreciated by email or on disk in most formats. It saves a lot of typing!

Old Newsletters

If you would like to inform us of any problems in your area please email us at info@keepirelandopen.org

Who we are | The issues | Aims | How to Join | Newsletter | Old Newsletters | letters | Keep Out | Recent Issues | Links | Photo Gallery | Contact Us