‘It could have caused a huge blaze’ – Farmer hits out at ‘illegal party’ on his land


The ICSA says the incident illustrates the difficulties facing farmers when members of the public use farmland for leisure purposes without consent. Stock Image.
The ICSA says the incident illustrates the difficulties facing farmers when members of the public use farmland for leisure purposes without consent. Stock Image.

A Waterford farmer is counting the cost of an “illegal party” that took place on his farm recently which he says could have easily set off a huge gorse fire.

The farmer who wishes to remain anonymous said the incident took place at the height of the drought and caused significant damage to his farm.

“Electric fencing was pulled down and the posts then used in the campfire.

“Removing fencing is no joke and could easily have caused harm to livestock or indeed to other members of the public.”

The farmer who lives near the coast said his cattle got out and he eventually found them on a nearby beach.

“The fire was set close to gorse which could have ignited given the dry weather; not to mention the litter, empty vodka and beer bottles and the remnants of sleeping bags that were left behind.”

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has said members of the public should not assume that they can use farmland for recreational purposes.

This incident illustrates the difficulties facing farmers when members of the public use farmland for leisure purposes without consent. While ICSA is very open to negotiated access, a farm is a workplace and there is no right to trespass on it.” 

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 “ICSA is in favour of bringing the countryside to life and for as many people as possible to enjoy all that rural Ireland has to offer. To this end, ICSA will be involved in formulating the Code of Best Practice for Greenways over the coming months.”

“As we know from experience with Greenways, goodwill on behalf of landowners is paramount, but incidents like this will no doubt make farmers even more wary. It also is a reminder to policymakers that you cannot go down the road of CPOs and disregard the legitimate concerns of landowners.”

“I would encourage all those enjoying rural Ireland for recreational purposes to be mindful of livestock and property around them. The business of farming is going on all around them so it is essential that farmland is respected and not treated as a playground.”

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