Press Release from Keep Ireland Open (KIO)
Keep Ireland Open abhors the alleged assault on Mr Pat Dunne in Glenmalure on Sunday morning last. When Mr Dunne requested two males with three dogs to honour clear “No Dogs Allowed” signs at the entrance to his farm he was pushed to the ground and held there while the perpetrator’s accomplice proceeded to bring the dogs onto land with livestock and where dogs are prohibited. As a result this popular route to and from Lugnaquilla, Leinster’s highest mountain, is now closed to all recreational walkers.
Robert Dowds, Keep Ireland Open chairperson said “As an organisation which seeks to protect and extend access to the countryside for responsible recreational users, Keep Ireland Open condemns in the strongest possible terms the alleged unjustified attack on the Glenmalure farmer, Pat Dunne. To ask a person not to bring dogs up a mountainside was absolutely correct, especially at a time when sheep are lambing. Anyone with an ounce of sense or knowledge of the countryside should know that. It is why Keep Ireland Open, along with other organisations which attend meetings of Comhairle na Tuaithe (the Government advisory body on the countryside), have asked that there should be a compulsory module for transition year students about responsible behaviour in the countryside.
“Keep Ireland Open has been aware for several years about Mr. Dunne’s generosity in terms of giving access to the Zig Zag path in Glenmalure, one of the most important paths in Co. Wicklow. This makes the alleged attack on him very serious for the general public as well in that it restricts access in Glenmalure and may make other landowners wary of granting access. We hope the Gardaí get to the bottom of what happened and that, if someone is found guilty of an offence, he gets the severest punishment possible.
“Looking to the future we hope for a situation where legislation will protect the rights of walkers and those of landowners as well.” concluded Mr Dowds.
Chair, Keep Ireland Open
Tel. 087-652 0360