VIDEO: Coalisland canal right of way battle erupts

Walkers, joggers and wildlife enthusiasts, who have been using a canal towpath for years, have reacted with fury after a resident erected gates and barbed wire fences to stop them.

The treasured spot along the Coalisland canal has been a haven for wildlife including long-eared owls, kingfishers, otters and badgers, but now the rural idyll has been shattered, claim the walkers.

Plunkett Scullion, who claims the path is a right of way, said that camouflage hides and chairs installed by his photography club have been vandalised by unknown individuals and thrown into the canal.

“I have checked with the land registration documents and the towpath is a right of way for everyone to use.

“We have been told by a local individual that he does not want town people on the land. However, he has no right to stop us.

“Nobody is going to tell the Coalisland people where they can and cannot walk.

“We have visitors from all over Northern Ireland using this walkway to view the kingfishers and long-eared owls.

“I’ve been using this path for the last thirty or forty years and we’ve never had any problem in the past.”