Access to the countryside


Sir, – Keep Ireland Open would like to support the plea by Prof Seán Duffy (Letters, May 26th) for a rights-of-way commission. At the moment, our rights to access the countryside are limited to the national parks and Coillte forestry, making up only 7 per cent of our land mass, plus about 200 public rights of way. These rights compare very unfavourably with virtually all EU countries. Thus access to the rest of our countryside depends on the whims of individual landowners. One cannot assume that entry will be allowed to even rough grazing land remote from human habitation. Landowners are legally permitted to deny access and are allowed to use force to ensure compliance. The Scottish model of freedom to roam is surely the answer. – Yours, etc,



Keep Ireland Open,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – Prof Seán Duffy seems to be unaware that all Ordnance Survey maps carry the disclaimer, “The representation on this map of a road, track or footpath is not evidence of a right of way.” If I ever wish to visit a marked archaeological site, I ask the landowner. I have never been denied. – Yours, etc,