Elfin safety

Messrs Build.ie draw my attention to the formation of an Irish branch of the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group, with members including the State Claims Agency, the OPW, Coillte, Waterways Ireland and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. The matter was mentioned in a Dáil written answer on 16 July 2013 and there is a ministerial statement on the formation here including this:

[…] it is essential that these visitors have safe access to our valuable assets […].

There is a list of VSCG members here. It will be nice for the Irish members to be able to converse with those from Manx National Heritage without having to use English, but the Waterways Ireland delegates will no doubt be disappointed that the Scottish bodies don’t seem to give much attention to the Scots language.

One of the VSCG case-studies is about Gas Street Basin in Birmingham; Waterways Ireland may be thinking about its applicability to the Grand Canal docks in Ringsend.

The involvement of the State Claims Agency suggests that the concern for visitors’ safety is not entirely altruistic: that the members may wish to keep down the costs of legal claims against them. Nothing wrong with that: it is in the interests of the citizenry that costs be kept down; that means managing risks and protecting against vexatious claims. If that isn’t done, there is a danger that public access to these bodies’ estates might be restricted.

 

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