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Sinn Fein in favour of modernising land access law – McLellan

14 June, 2013

Speaking in the Dáil today on the Access to the Countryside Bill, Sinn Fein spokesperson on Tourism and Heritage Sandra McLellan said:

“Access to the countryside is an important, complex and sensitive issue. There is a dilemma in how to balance rights of way or rights of access for the walker and tourist, with the rights of the farmer?

“There are important questions that must be addressed if this issue is to be dealt with in a meaningful and balanced way that respects the rights of both parties to on the one hand roam the countryside, and on the other to maintain the privacy of farmland and to preserve rural landscapes in a sustainable manner for the benefit of everyone.

“Of course when it comes to discussions around access, emotions and opinions about privacy and rights tend to cloud other equally important issues.

“For example, towns, and parishes across rural Ireland are experiencing a dramatic process of decline in terms of jobs, inward investment, the closure of vital public services, and the mass exodus of young people to emigration.

“Therefore when we discuss the issue of access to the countryside, and more importantly the case for modernising Ireland’s land access law we need to take a holistic view of the range of issues involved, and focus on the broader political and economic context in which they occur.

“Sinn Fein is in favour of modernising Ireland’s land access law with a view to preserving the countryside and creating sustainable rural communities.”

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