Senator Higgins welcomes today’s announcement Minister will remove 30th November deadline to Register a Right of Way

Rightsofway
Rightsofway

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins welcomes today’s announcement Minister Heather Humphreys is to draft an amendment to remove the upcoming 30 November deadline to register a right of way.


Speaking today Senator Higgins said “Over the past year I have raised the 30 November deadline and the legal problems it will present with the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage on a number of occasions and I also proposed amendments and drafted a Bill to highlight this issue.”

“While it is a pity it has been left to this late stage, however I am happy common sense has prevailed and the Government are considering introducing legislation to address this issue before 30 th November and the problems it would create. Time really is of the essence now and I look forward to engaging with Minister Humphreys around her proposal and seeing the detail of how the matter will be dealt with in practice.”

“Addressing this matter is important to prevent legal confusion as has been highlighted by the Law Society of Ireland and protecting rights of way, many of which have been used for generations, is also really important from a heritage, accessibility, and community perspective. Moreover, as I have previously highlighted at the Climate Committee there is a real potential to strengthen and reimagine these rights of way in the future as part of a network of connectivity in rural and urban Ireland.”

ENDS//

Note to the Editor: Senator Higgins proposed a five-year extension to register rights of way, both in amendments to a Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and the drafting of her own Land and Conveyancing Law Reform (Amendment) Bill 2021.
For further information: Sárán Fogarty, 083 184 0496

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Civil Engagement Group motion on poverty passes the Seanad

Yesterday in the Seanad, a motion on poverty and social exclusion introduced by my Civil Engagement Group colleague Senator Lynn Ruane passed unanimously. I was delighted to co-sponsor this motion, as it not only highlights the real and unnecessary poverty and exclusion felt by many across society but lays out concrete measures the State could take to begin to address poverty seriously.  

The motion acknowledged that in 2021, 11.6% of the population of Ireland, or 581,334 people, were living in poverty, of which 163,936 were children and also highlighted that the State has failed to achieve its target of reducing consistent poverty to 2% or less by 2020, and that previous targets in this regard have not been met on a consistent basis. It also acknowledges the closing down of the Combat Poverty Agency in 2009 as a regressive step.

In the course of the debate, my colleagues Senator Ruane and Senator Eileen Flynn made powerful speeches informed by lived experience and drove home the fact that to be in poverty is, in and of itself, very costly -- poverty imposes significant psychological, emotional and social costs on individuals, families and communities. 

The motion lays out a number of progressive steps which Government should take to effectively fight the root causes of poverty in our society. These measures include: re-establishing an independent Combat Poverty Agency, or a similar independent statutory body, which is empowered and resourced to develop long-term anti-poverty strategies, carry out important research, and lead the Government’s anti-poverty response; supporting and resourcing ongoing independent research based on the Minimum Essential Standards of Living (MESL) and applying the learnings from this research in an ongoing analysis of policies relating to welfare payments and the development of a living wage; and carrying out research on the potential introduction of a Universal Basic Income for certain groups, in particular care leavers.

If you would like to read the debate, you can view it here: Poverty and Social Exclusion: Motion – Seanad Éireann (26th Seanad) – Wednesday, 19 Oct 2022 – Houses of the Oireachtas. Our Group will be following up with the Government on these measures and advocating for their implementation.