Vartry Trail, Wicklow. August 2022

Not long after the Vartry Trail was opened with wonderful walks around the reservoirs in Roundwood, County Wicklow, a woman was splashed by paint from an adjacent business. We note that the Paintball Operation has been operating on the site since the 1990s without the benefit of planning permission.

A local group with the support of a local councillor and Irish Water had succeeded in getting significant government grants for the work of upgrading the 2 interlinked circular paths offering 20k of walks but in just this area, beside the Paintball business, the land adjacent to the water was not owned by Irish Water but a local landowner who had leased his land to the businessman.

The Paintball Operator, (who leases the land from a local landowner) immediately blocked off the trail at both ends of the boundary in response to concerns over potential insurance claims.

KIO submitted a Section 5 Query to ascertain if the barriers required planning permission but have been unable to get evidence that this particular stretch of land was walked in the past 10 years and so our legal attempts to get this problem remedied  have stalled.

The Council and the Sports Council refuse to share any information but have begged KIO not to protest for fear of angering the Operator and insist that negotiations are ongoing.

The urgent need for new legislation is clearly shown by this situation where  public money is wasted, the rights to walk denied, and private interests hold such power.  A protest at this site to draw attention to these issues is considered.