Politicians must act to stop wild fires

Politicians must act to stop wild fires
A recent gorse fire in Gougane Barra valley, Co Cork. Pic: Neil Lucey/PA Wire

The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is urging people affected by wild fires to contact their local politicians about the issue.

A spokesperson from the organisation said they have documented 57 such fires across the country since the beginning of the year.

They say they are being contacted every single day by locals in affected areas.

“We have been contacted on a daily basis by local people in affected counties who are disgusted that this illegal practice destroys their environment and puts lives at risk,” they said.

“One resident from Co. Cork told us: 'Last year was a nightmare. The fires lasted for about two/three weeks. My house was in danger, three fire engines were around from 11pm until 5am before they had it under control and we could all go to bed.'” IWT Campaigns Officer Pádraic Fogarty said politicians “have to wake up to the anger and frustration of local people who have to endure this torment every year”.

“It's important therefore that people contact their representatives to make their feelings known,” he said.

The IWT has said that though farmers with burned land are in ineligible for the single farm payment, a recent Freedom of Information request it submitted revealed no farmer was penalised in 2016 under the cross compliance rules.

“To date we are not aware of any statement from any senior government Minister on these devastating wild fires. Perpetrators clearly feel there is no penalty for this misconduct.”

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