Updated: 01/07/16 : 06:00:33Printable Version
With the utter debacle of the Lissadell rights-of-way case still fresh in the minds of Sligo councillors and with the final legal bill for the fiasco yet to be finalised one councillor this week raised the prospect of further conflicts as the County Development Plan is being considered.Independent Cllr Declan Bree said, "On the last occasion we considered a draft development plan in Sligo, I put forward a motion that we compile a list of rights-of-way for inclusion in the Development Plan.
"However the Executive advised members not to support my motion and unfortunately my motion was defeated. If my motion had been adopted then it would have helped ensure that rights-of-way were identified in an amicable way through consultation with the general public and landowners and most probably it would have ensured that there would not have been the prolonged and costly legal debacle relating to Lissadell. The last thing this Council wants is another Lissadell."
Senior Planner Frank Moylan said public rights of way were dealt with in the plan saying that "During the life of the plan the council would continue to negotiate with landowners where there were clear dedicated rights of way or use established."Statutory Obligation
But Cllr Bree insisted it was national policy and a statutory obligation on the council to have such a list now. He added that the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 required the Council to insert a list and map of rights of way in the new County Development Plan.“However I have read through the draft plan and I cannot find any map identifying the rights of way in the county nor could I find any list of the rights of way.” he said
“I have to say I find this unacceptable. Here we have a case where the elected members of the Dail made it a statutory obligation on a Council to identify rights of way and include them in the Development Plan. In addition the elected members of this Council unanimously directed the Chief Executive to ensure that this legislation was adhered and rights of way identified and included in the development plan.
“Yet, the decision of the elected representatives of the people has been ignored by the Council executive, the listing of public rights of way is a very important matter as the lack of certainty on access has not only affected the rights of ordinary citizens but has been the major cause of the failure of walking tourism to reach its full potential.” he said.
Cllr Bree proposed a motion highlighting the fact that no map or list of rights of way had been included in the proposed draft County Development Plan and requesting the Department of the Environment to advise the Council of its statutory obligations with regard to complying with the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act.
Chief Executive Ciaran Hayes said this required resources and there was the potential for other difficulties while Mr Moylan said that would take some time and he would be seeking legal advice on it.
Cllr Bree's motion was unanimously adopted by the Council