News 2016

Title:  Wicklow Way judgment should not be causing worry for farmers
Date:  23/04/2016

Mountaineering Ireland has refuted claims from the IFA and ICSA that farmers should be worried about a recent court judgement which awarded a hill walker €40,000 in damages after she injured herself while walking the Wicklow Way.


Helen Lawless from Mountaineering Ireland said “This case could not have succeeded had the woman been injured by a fall on rocky ground, rather than a boardwalk.


“This judgement is under Section 4.4 of the Occupiers Liability Act where there is a higher duty of care on the landowner for structures that are provided for use primarily by recreational users. That higher level of responsibility does not apply to other structures you would find in a farming environment or features in the natural landscape. Most structures provided for use by recreational users that are on private land, such as stiles, bridges and boardwalks are part of managed trails where there is an insurance policy in place to indemnify landowners.


If a farmer puts in a stile for his/her own convenience and even if it is used by walkers his/her duty of care remains minimal - not to deliberately injure the person or damage their property. If an accident was caused due to a deficiency in the stile, then the claimant would find it very difficult to plead a claim because the landowner doesn’t owe them that higher duty of care.


The bigger picture here is that the law recognises that people engaged in outdoor recreation activities should be aware of the risk that is involved in what they do, and that they should take responsibility for themselves. This judgment should not be causing worry for farmers around the country.”

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