Selling off assets to be run privately is just one possibility – public access to places like Glenveagh or Ards Forest Park would continue, but run by a private company.
Entrance fees would inevitably rise.
In Britain a similar plan by the coalition government was scrapped last week after a backlash from environmentalists.
And in Greece Prime minister George Papandreou has sought to reassure Greeks that his government will not engage in a huge sell-off of state-owned properties, days after international creditors suggested that large-scale privatisations could solve the country’s debt crisis.
The socialist leader attempted to allay fears following public outrage over proposals that Greece sell off its beaches, ports, airports and tourist assets to rein in its debt.
Here there is now a real possibility that many of our publicly-owned assets could be sold off to help balance the national books.