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Michael Healy Rae wants to rethink how we do fires in this country

The Kerry TD has called for a task force of interested parties to come together to deal with upland areas.

Photo: File
Photo: File
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall

Updated at 7am

KERRY TD MICHAEL Healy Rae has called for a task force to be established to deal with how upland areas are managed.

This specifically relates to the issue of gorse fires which has been in the headlines over the past few weeks due to a number of high-profile wild fire incidents. 

Farmers are currently permitted to carry out burning operations but are subject to stringent guidelines from the Department of Agriculture.

Response

“What has happened is we have had a lot of gorse fires in Kerry and around the country in general. This is a source of concern from an environmental point of view and from farming point of view,” Healy Rae told TheJournal.ie. 

We need to have an organised approach.

He has called for participation in the task force by farmers, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Bird Watch Ireland and “any other groups that have interest”.

Regulation

The current regulations put restrictions that relate to an area that is going to be burnt (ie, away from woodland, steep slopes and national monuments) and the date on which the burn takes place.

Farmers are not permitted to carry out burns between 1 March and 31 August in any given year.

Breaking these rules constitutes an offence under the Wildlife Acts and could lead to prosecution.

On this, the Kerry TD said, “one thing I would always say is, ‘you can’t calendar a farm’… in the past when it came to the spreading of slurry, you might think the summertime is the best time, but it might rain all summer”.

Response from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is pending. 

Read: Firefighters tackled blazes in Dublin and Wicklow overnight

Also: Chainsaws are being taken from fire stations in Tipp – and one TD’s not happy

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