Access to Ben Bulben for walkers

 

Sir, – In response to Charles Henry’s letter of October 9th in which he suggests a possible compromise on access which might be acceptable to both landowners and walkers, Keep Ireland Open, while disagreeing with his suggestion, accepts that the sentiment behind his ideas is certainly worth looking at.

Some years ago the Labour Party sponsored a Bill proposing something similar, which, while it received a good deal of cross-party support, failed to be passed. However, it differed from Mr Henry’s proposal in that the strip of land to be acquired would start at a public road, would end at the upper limit of agricultural land and would not be extended into rough grazing or commonages, after which it was assumed that access would be allowed.

Mr Henry also mentions that fencing would probably be required. Can you image what it would be like to climb Ben Bullen in a corridor of wire?

Finally, it is unlikely that planning permission for fencing would be granted due to a provision in the Co Sligo development plan requiring the “preservation of the open character of commonage and other hill land”. – Yours, etc,

ROGER GARLAND,

Chairman,

Keep Ireland Open,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – Charles Henry’s plea for a walking route to the Ben Bulben plateau makes perfect sense but unfortunately his plea could apply to all Ireland, mountains and lowlands, north and south.

From my experience in Britain, walkers want off-road paths, infrastructure (footbridges, stiles, etc) and legal certainty.

Unfortunately these requirements are available hardly anywhere in Ireland.

Ireland is a beautiful country, ideal for all types of walking and helped by low population density. Yet facilities in Ireland are worse than in most parts of western Europe and probably much further afield.

Why are the tourism and walking bodies not up in arms? – Yours, etc,

DAVID MELLING,

Beaumaris,

Wales.