‘Wicklow Mountain fires are are not wild, they are planned and deliberate’ – TD asks minister to step in
Green Party TD for Wicklow Steven Matthews has urged the Minister for Agriculture to make contact with farmers in an effort to stem the annual wave of gorse fires.
“The recent fires across the Wicklow Mountains are not wild, they appear to be planned and deliberate,” Deputy Matthews said.
“The fires are causing huge habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity and are stretching and endangering our emergency services. We see this every year as agricultural land is burned to clear gorse and scrub.
“These actions are not permitted at this time of year and therefore it is illegal. Enforcing the law is necessary but prevention of such environmental damage would be so much better. We need to change this behaviour and get more supports for farmers to manage the land.
“Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine are available to guide farmers who may not have the adequate supports to carry out managed and controlled burning and in a manner that lessens the over all environmental damage.
“I urge Teagasc and the Minister for Agriculture to do more to stop this environmental destruction. I have written to the Minister to ask his department to contact farmers in the annually problematic locations to explain the supports, services and alternative methods available.
“Farmers do not want to kill wildlife, destroy habitats and endanger the emergency services but many need more support to manage the land in a more environmentally harmonious way.”
Hundreds of acres of land across the Wicklow Mountain has been destroyed as a result of devastating gorse fires in recent days.
An urged appeal has been issued for people not to set hill fires after the head of Wicklow Fire Service indicated the fires were started illegally.
It is believed that the natural habitat of a large number of creatures have been destroyed as a result of the fires.
Wicklow Fire Service chief Aidan Dempsey said it is “doubly frustrating” to be sending crews and the Air Corps out to fight fires given the Covid-19 issues the country is facing.
He said the fires “are not accidental”, adding that gardaí are patrolling the Wicklow uplands to turn back people who could be breaching the coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Dempsey said the fires are “being caused maliciously” rather than accidentally by people who are tourists or using the mountains for recreational purposes.