The President of ICMSA said that landowners generally and farmers specifically would be greatly encouraged by the policy direction indicated by Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring’s recent remarks. Pat McCormack said that Minister Ring’s remarks represented a “long overdue shift” in the state’s approach to the question of liability for claims arising out of access to private land being given to hillwalkers and others. He said that finally the state seemed to have grasped completely the iniquity of leaving farmers and other landowners liable for claims against them by people who had been given access to the farmland at the state’s urging or otherwise encouragement. Minister Ring’s comments that he intends making the State’s Claims Agency the defendant in personal injuries claims – and not the individual farmer – marks a very significant move to a recognition that it is the state pressurising the farmers to grant access to their farm for the purposes of hillwalking, etc, and that it was simply untenable for a situation to develop where the farmer or landowner was actually made personally liable for any claims arising out of their act of generosity and the greater public good.
“ICMSA has never accepted a situation where everyone involved in the tourism and leisure sectors were loudly demanding that farmers open their lands to hillwalkers and other without ever offering to share liability for the personal injury cases that everyone knew would result – particularly in such a generously litigious a climate as we have in this state. Minister Ring has identified the central injustice here where the person – usually a farmer – who gave access to others to his or her private property was in fact penalised for their generosity by being made personally liable for any claims arising out of people accessing their lands. It was – and is – an outrageous injustice and ICMSA warmly commends Minister Ring for beginning the long overdue move to correct it”, said Mr McCormack.
Ends 21 January 2019.
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
ICMSA Press Office