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Access to the Irish countryside: permissive access and partnership approaches
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Access to the Irish countryside: permissive access and partnership approaches


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  • 1. Deborah Kanakis 2nd Year Ph.D. Candidate National University of Ireland, Galway Supervisor: Dr Mary Cawley GRC: Dr John McDonagh Dr Stephen Hynes
  • 2. 1. Background and Aim of Ph.D. Project2. Methodology3. Case Studies4. Conceptual framework5. Conclusion
  • 3.  2nd Year Ph.D. Project Aim  To investigate access to the countryside of Ireland  Limited public rights of way  No „Right to Roam‟  No statutory/legislative framework for recreational access  Issue of contention and conflict – particularly in recent years  Solution proposed by Comhairle na Tuaithe (Countryside Council) – Partnership approach
  • 4.  Qualitative Research Primary Data: Interviews Purposive (non-random)Sampling Thematic Analysis Secondary Data Discourse Analysis
  • 5.  Located in Joyce Country, Connemara (County Galway) Easily accessible from the villages of Clonbur and Cornamona Relatively low hill (424 m) with stunning scenery Land under scheme is largely unfenced and open Suits walkers/hikers of moderate fitness Access negotiated by Local Integrated Development Network (local community tourism group) in partnership with landowners Criticism – poor communication
  • 6. Mount Gable Source: Ordnance Survey Ireland
  • 7. Image: Author‟sOwn
  • 8.  Located in County Mayo 42 KM Walking/Cycling linear trail follows disused railway track Linking Westport Town to Achill Island First dual purpose Waymarked Way (long distance trail in Ireland) Awarded European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) in 2011 Partnership – landowners and Mayo County Council
  • 9. Source: Ordnance Survey Ireland
  • 10.  Private Property Common Pool Resource (CPR) Social Capital Partnerships
  • 11.  All land in Ireland is either owned by individuals or state bodies – the public does not have a de facto legal right of entry (Pearce and Mee, 2000) Protection against trespass is provided under Irish law Land has a strong social and cultural significance associated High level of owner occupancy – there are over 141,000 farms in Ireland (avg. farm size 32.8 ha)
  • 12.  The term CPR can, as Schlager and Ostrom (1992, 249) state, be applied “to any common pool resource used by multiple individuals regardless of the type of property rights involved” A CPR can also be described as a “good” “whereby exclusion of others is infeasible or costly, but where the goods or the services are subtractible, so that one person‟s use or consumption is affecting other persons‟ use” (Sandberg, 2007, 613) Community control or reciprocal actions among individuals have the potential to resolve potential issues relating to over use and free riding in CPRs (Healy, 1994)
  • 13.  Reciprocal relationships in the management of CPRs are reliant on the existence of SC SC is, like other forms of capital, productive SC can be seen as the institutional solution that communities develop to resolve potential problems Theories of CPR and SC are intrinsically linked
  • 14.  A partnership is defined as herein as “An arrangement which deliberately draws together the resources of specified partners in order to achieve a defined objective” (Goodwin, 2009, 593), and: “The concept of partnership should consider not only the formation, membership, power relations between partners…but also the social, political, cultural and economic contexts in which partnerships are being formed at the local level” (Jones and Little, 2000, 171)
  • 15.  Ireland provides a unique context for studying access Limited rights of way and no apparent legislative change on the horizon has brought about the need to re-think how access can be attained CnaT (The countryside Council), the Irish Sports Council (ISC), The National Trails Office combined advise that access should be negotiated at local level using partnerships