Tuesday, 5 October 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
788. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development when public liability insurance was first secured from her Department for the two existing mountain access project areas, that is, the MacGillycuddy Reeks, County Kerry and Binn Sléibhe, County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47573/21]
My Department has, for some time, been examining how best to introduce a scheme to indemnify private land owners in upland areas who allow access to their lands for recreational purposes. This is a complex issue and my Department has been advised that an indemnity scheme such as has been proposed would require legislative provision and that a number of separate pieces of legislation might need to be amended.
In light of the complexities involved, my officials have been considering alternative pilot approaches, including an insurance solution, to address the matter on an interim basis. Through this process, a public liability insurance policy was secured by my Department for the two existing Mountain Access Project areas, the MacGillycuddy Reeks in Kerry and Binn Sléibhe in Galway. This policy came in to effect from 13th August 2021.
This pilot solution was developed in consultation with Comhairle na Tuaithe and is being implemented on a two year trial basis. There are some practical implementation issues to be finalised and these will be advanced through Comhairle na Tuaithe in the coming weeks. The policy represents a substantial step forward on this matter for landowners in the two Mountain Access Project areas involved.
Other options around indemnity and potential amendments to the Occupiers Liability Act will continue to be explored and progressed as appropriate over the coming months. I have also committed to engaging further with the Attorney General on this matter.