Sligo blocade

26 January 2004


“A blockade by farmers of one of Sligo’s most scenic beauty spots has been threatened by North Sligo farmer, Andy McSharry in what would be a dramatic escalation of the dispute between hillwalkers and landowners in the county.” as reported in The Sligo Champion.

– I’m not really that sure where I stand on this particular issue. On the one hand I think that people (whether they are tourists or locals) should have the right to visit scenic areas, and go hill walking. But then again, as the law stands at the moment if I trespass on some farmer’s land and fall and break a leg then the farmer is liable. And no matter how anyone protests that all they are interested in is the walk, there will always be someone out to claim as much as they can.

I think the solution will not be an easy one, nor do I think it should involve payments to individual farmers. Perhaps, however, the govt. could issue payments based on how accessible land is, so the farmer has an incentive to allow, and facilitate people visiting the land.

As for the claim that the farmers will attempt to “If needs be we’ll close down the countryside once and for all” well that is just cutting off your nose to spite your face. Ireland needs tourism, and the countryside needs tourism, especially with falling farm incomes.

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