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Government condemns 'irresponsible and reckless' wildfires in Wicklow and Laois

The blazes broke out on Saturday night with fire crews tackling the fires throughout the weekend.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS condemned the illegal wildfires that took place over the weekend in Wicklow Mountains National Park and the Slieve Bloom Mountains in Co Laois.

The blazes broke out on Saturday night with fire crews tackling the fires throughout the weekend. 

In a statement this morning, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said: “Wildfires do not occur naturally in Ireland.

“The main cause of such conflagrations is thought to be the deliberate starting of fires without concern for the emergency services, the local wildlife, habitat, communities or even private property close by.”

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan said the fires destroyed important upland habitat and displaced and potentially killed local wildlife at a critical time of year for many species.

“Both of these sites are Special Areas of Conservation and among the most precious places in Ireland for nature. Indeed, the Slieve Blooms SAC is home to a thriving population of hen harriers and other rare bird species, all nesting this time of year. Setting these fires is absolutely criminal and an all-too-frequent tragedy,” he said.

Noonan went on to describe the setting of these fires as “irresponsible and reckless” while O’Brien thanked the Fire Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service staff and the Civil Defence. 

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