Wednesday, 8 February 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
140. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the work of Comhairle na Tuaithe; if policy decisions have been taken arising from the work of An Chomhairle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4439/06]
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Éamon Ó Cuív): I established Comhairle na Tuaithe in February 2004 to address the three priority issues of: access to the countryside; developing a countryside code; and developing a countryside recreation strategy. Comhairle na Tuaithe comprises representatives of the farming organisations, recreational users of the countryside and State bodies with an interest in the countryside.
To date Comhairle na Tuaithe has identified and reviewed a set of access parameters in the countryside, which it believes will serve as a basis for conflict prevention and integrate a variety of needs and responsibilities. It has also agreed the key features necessary for countryside code development, with a focus on the potential application of the internationally recognised leave no trace initiative. Details of the code are available in a booklet, which I launched in September of last year and are on my Department’s website at www.pobail.ie.
Comhairle na Tuaithe is currently working on the development of a National Countryside Recreation Strategy. The first phase in the development of the strategy involved consultation with interested parties. In this regard, it invited submissions from interested individuals and groups. This invitation appeared in the national and provincial newspapers at the end of October and in addition Comhairle na Tuaithe wrote to groups representing recreational interests, State agencies and relevant Departments seeking their views. The closing date for receipt of submissions was 7 December 2005 and 190 submissions were received. The work of drafting the countryside recreation strategy is proceeding and Comhairle na Tuaithe is, at present, examining the submissions received. The strategy when formulated will help inform policy decisions in the wider rural development domain.
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