Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
239. Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 418 of 23 June 2009, if, in view of a judgement (details supplied), it is difficult to establish the existence of public rights of way; his plans to introduce legislation to enable rights of way to be established by usage, without hindrance, over a period of years; the steps he will take to enable reasonable access to the countryside through usage of traditional walkways and paths on a permanent basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26478/09]
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley): I note the judgment of the High Court in this specific case, including a summary of the current law relating to the evidentiary basis for establishing the existence of a public right of way, and the Court’s concluding observations regarding a satisfactory resolution of the respective rights of property owners and walkers. Section 14 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 provides a mechanism whereby a planning authority may include a provision in its development plan relating to the preservation of a specific public right of way. Under sections 206 and 207 of the 2000 Act, a planning authority may, respectively—
I am currently considering whether these provisions are adequate. Any necessary legislative changes will be incorporated into the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill, which was published on 3 June.
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