The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is urging people affected by wild fires to contact their local politicians to express their frustration at inaction over wild fires.
Since the beginning of the year 57 fires have been documented across Ireland with 26 of these in areas designated for nature conservation including Killarney and Wicklow Mountains National Parks.
“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,” said Padraic Fogarty, Irish Wildlife Trust Campaigns Officer.
“One resident from county 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.'
“Yet these deliberately set fires continue. Farmers with burnt land are ineligible for the single farm payment and yet, in a Freedom of Information request from the Department of Agriculture, the IWT learned that no farmer was penalised in 2016 under the so-call ‘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.
“ Politicians have yet 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.
“Annual wild fires have already eradicated much wildlife from swathes of our hills, challenging the idea that Ireland is ‘green’ and environmentally friendly.”