Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle welcomes changes in Land Conveyancing Law Reform Bill

Pringle welcomes changes in Land Conveyancing Law Reform Bill

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has welcomed the Land Conveyancing Law Reform Bill, saying a statutory deadline for registering easements without going to court would lead to a significant rise in court cases to protect rights people had enjoyed for years.

Addressing the Dáil on Wednesday evening, Deputy Pringle said: “This is a very important and urgent bill and I support this bill in its intention to remove the current statutory deadline of the 30 November 2021 in which to register easements without the need to go to court. The potential impact of not extending this deadline is incredibly worrying and could see those who currently have rights over state land being deprived of those rights, or at least having no means of registering them, if an application is not made before 1 December 2021.

“This legislation is badly needed and is essential for farmers as well as those in rural communities such as Donegal,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said a 2011 amendment allowed claimants to apply to the Property Registration Authority to validate and register their right based on long use, provided that the prescriptive right was not contested by the landowner.

He said: “This provided a much simpler process and made it far easier for people to register easements. It proved to be a much better system than the previous system and we should continue to allow PRA to validate as well as register rights to allow for a simpler, cheaper and more effective process.

“If we were to keep this deadline in place we would be facing an unprecedented rise in a large volume of unnecessary court cases to protect rights which has been availed of for years. It would cause unnecessary solicitor costs, court costs and added court backlogs, as well as unnecessary stress between families and neighbours,” he said.

The deputy said The Law Society of Ireland also noted that if an application to register rights over foreshore is not made by Dec. 1, 2021, it cannot be made until 2069, or 60 years from 2009.

Deputy Pringle said: “This is a crazy prospect and I am glad that it is being addressed in Section 3 of this bill because that’s very important, and particularly in relation to the rights of seaweed harvesting and seaweed harvesters.”

The rights of seaweed harvesters are to be protected, though the deputy said further clarification is needed from the minister on whether protected rights will be frozen at 2009. He said: “Seaweed rights and seaweed harvesting are vitally important along the west coast and it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Deputy Pringle said there is a need for more comprehensive reform in the area of registering easements, but said, “I do recognise the urgency and the importance of passing this bill before the legal cliff edge and I hope that it passes through the House speedily.”

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