Goodwill of Landowners for Recreational Users Undermined By Recent Court Decision – INHFA

The recent High Court decision which made an award of €40,000 to a walker after she slipped on a boardwalk at an NPWS Park has caused major concern for many farmers.

INHFA National Chair Vincent Roddy outlined how our office continues to be inundated with calls even two weeks after the judgement. He stated that“farmers are very concerned about any possible liability they may incur if a member of the public were to injure themselves on their property”

Presently the INHFA are awaiting a legal opinion on this as it does appear thatthe liability in this case occurred as a result of a slip on an introduced structure, namely the boardwalk (sleeper). This Mr Roddy pointed out should be different to slipping and injuring themselves in a natural habitat, but he added “it does raise concerns where farmers have put in structures themselves to aid
their own farming activity such as fences, stiles or improved roadways”

The fact that the judgement is being appealed by the NPWS has being welcomed by the INHFA who believe the findings of that appeal will have a major impact for all farmers and recreational users. However in relation to the appeal Mr Roddy did point out that the NPWS have the financial resources to do this where as a farmer may not.

Mr Roddy concluded by outlining how this judgement and the appeal will impact on more than just landowners and recreational users. “Anyone involved in the tourism industry especially in the more scenic areas should be very
concerned by this” added Roddy who also stated “that it raises serious questions for Failte Ireland and how they promote tourism and hill walking”