ICSA rural development chair Seamus Sherlock said the public should not assume they could use farmland for recreational purposes.
It comes after a farmer in Waterford raised concerns with the organisation about an unsanctioned party that involved a campfire taking place on their farm.
Electric fencing was pulled down and the posts were then used as fuel for the fire. There was also litter, bottles and the remnants of sleeping bags left behind.
Sherlock said: “Removing fencing is no joke and could easily have caused harm to livestock or indeed to other members of the public. In addition, the fire was set close to gorse which could have ignited given the dry weather.”
He said the incident highlighted the difficulties farmers faced when members of the public used 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.”
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross launched the new greenway strategy in July, which included the development of a code of best practice for greenways. The ICSA has said that incidents such as the one in Waterford would make farmers more wary of greenways being developed across their land.
The ICSA said it will be involved in developing the code of practice and supported greenways, but only in cases where landowner concerns were listened to and addressed.
“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. 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,” said Sherlock.
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