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LéargasRTÉ One, Monday, 7.30pm

Andy McSharry

In this programme in the current Léargas series looking at land conflicts - Talamh in Achrainn, we see that disputes aren't only about ownership. The right to even cross land has been a source of conflict almost forever and in recent years, acrimony between landowners and walkers has broken out, up and down the country.

Dermot Somers - known as a mountaineer and climber, sees himself very much as a walker. As he ascends Ben Bulben, he acutely feels the lack of certainty about his right of access to the uplands. He talks about his feelings and insights into what is a fundamental conflict between the rights of landowners and those who wish to enjoy the countryside.

"Because I stand up for my rights for the land - they all know me here as the Bull"
Andy McSharry - Sheep Farmer - Sligo

Andy "the Bull" McSharry a sheep farmer in the magnificent valley of Gleniff, Co. Sligo has been campaigning against walkers on his lands since 1992. He's been convicted of threatening walkers but rather than pay the fines he went to jail. He voices the concerns that others share.

"They were up walking on our property which was being advertised by the hotels and the B&B's who were getting money out of it and we were getting nothing ...That's not on."
Gabriel Gilmartin - ICSA Sligo

Although McSharry's lands have an old private mine road, there is no recognised public right of way. However "The Bull" says that he'd be willing to allow walkers on the land but not for nothing.

 

Andy McSharry