Thursday, October 27, 2005
These boots are made for trespassing
In Wednesdays Irish Times there was a quiet a snotty letter from a Michael O’Carroll who is a member of Keep Ireland Open. He was complaining that the Irish Times Tourism supplement did not give walking tourism proper coverage. He then also went on about how Dublin walkers were going walking in Wales rather then the west of Ireland. Now being from the country I don’t like the condescending way that city people (mainly Dublin ) look at people from the rest of the country. They call us culchies and still expect that they should be allowed to walk willy nilly around peoples land and be greeted enthusiastically as if they are doing some great service to us and we should honour them. Some move to the countryside for the quality of life and then complain that the local framer is spreading slurry on his field. How dare they complain if you want to live in the country you live a country life. You don’t complain to the council for having street lights on at night in your windows so don’t complain about country smells. Now back to the right to roam issue. The reason that a farmer doesn’t want you on his farm is not due to spite. There are a number of reasons. 1. Insurance: Farmers fear that if some one falls on there land they will be sued. 2 Gates: Walkers leave gates over. 3 Costs: If farmers have to keep pathways open stiles and paths will have to be maintained 4. Crops Walkers damage crops. 5. Danger to the walker. River banks are still public land and you have a right to walk it. The right of way arguments come when people want to walk random fields and up mountains. If you are on private lands you are trespassing. Now the reason for the reasons I’ll expand upon. Many people consider people from the country as not been street-wise. Well many people from the cities are not country-wise. They have watched Gleanroe and feel they know it all. These are the kind of people who cannot tell a bull from a cow. They but wellies on and walk into a field to connect to their inner Miley. Suddenly they find a ton of beef charging them. Many people would say that the farmer should have it corralled. But he has it is in a field the walkers has just jumped into the corral. Other people say they should have signs up warning of the presents of a bull. In someone’s house with kids you could trip over a bike in the yard. Do you see signs saying “Beware of Kids Toys.” No they are private residents as the fields are private property. Crops are the livelihood of many farmers. When walkers walk across fields they often trample down crops. Not only is this highly inconsiderate this directly effects the farmers income. Cost if farmers have to maintain paths and stiles then this requires money not only to pay for materials to do this but also the time lost doing this could be spent on real farming tasks. But also farmers are farmers because they like it. They are not maintenance technicians. Even if the government gave them grants to maintain these things. Why should they be force to do another job? Could you imagine a judge been forced to clean the court room. I certainly can’t. Sometime walkers leave gates open and animals walk off. And mix with other herds. This has many consequences. Animals can escape and go into neighbours gardens causing damage to there houses and grounds. With many non-country people in the country now and the compensation culture this will lead farmers to being sued. Also animals can get onto roads which can lead to deaths. Only recently a loose animal resulted in the death of a man. Possible the biggest reason is that if people fall on land farmers fear that they will be sued. This is in fact possible also the least of a true worry due to the various acts past. Recent court decisions mean that the farmer has to be guilty of reckless abandon which means that the farmer would have to do something equivalent to planting bear traps to be found guilty. But the farmers still has the fear of going to court taking time out of there life and enduring the cost. Most people try to avoid jury service as it interrupts their lives. People need to realise farmers are people to and like to avoid court where possible. In his letter Michael Carroll said that if farmers could look beyond their noses they could invest in agri-tourism and have a money spinner. Well judges could have a money spinner cleaning court rooms. Doesn’t mean that they should have to. In these go-go busy hectic “insert buzz word here” world. Access to the countryside is desirable. People think they have a right to roam. But forget that with every right there is a responsibility. Many don’t live up to their responsibilities. They also seem to forget that the farmer too has rights. He too has responsibilities to his family to himself and to his animals these responsibilities have to come before the responsibilities to take care of some day tripping city folk discovering their inner Miley Byrne.