Government drawing up plans for national indemnity scheme

29 July 2016

The Government is drawing up plans to introduce a new national indemnity scheme to protect farmers and landowners in the event that someone is injured on their land.

Government officials are reportedly spurred on by a recent court judgment and aiming to have the scheme set up by the end of 2016.

Last April, a hillwaker who fell in the Wicklow Way won a €40,000 settlement from the National Parks and Wildlife Service over the poor maintenance of a wooden boardwalk.

The case has led to some landowners fearing that they could be held liable for injuries sustained on their property.

The new scheme would mean hillwalkers would receive compensation from a national fund instead, though the practicalities are still being discussed with the State Claims Agency.

Frank Nugent, chair of the Irish Uplands Forum, said the “The Occupiers’ Liability Act makes it very clear that landowners should not be responsible for people coming on to walk.

“We would absolutely welcome the implementation of the scheme because we have been proactive in trying to get a scheme introduced.

“We have always realised the value of the Occupiers’ Liability Act but the problem with the act is that it doesn’t prevent someone from suing the farmer. That means they need legal representation and straight away that costs money.”

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