THE IRISH WILDLIFE Trust (IWT) has voiced concerns about the amount of wildfires taking place.
The organisation said it received reports of 19 separate wildfires across Ireland over the 10 days from 16-26 April.
Some 11 of the fires took place in areas protected for nature conservation, with Killarney National Park, the Slieve Aughty mountains, the Blackstairs mountains, and the Beara peninsula in Cork all being affected.
The IWT thanked members of the public for alerting them to the blazes.
“All fires between March and August are illegal under the Wildlife Act. Fires in protected areas, at any time of the year, need approval from the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Under Department of Agriculture rules, land that has been burned is not eligible for the single farm payment and the IWT calls for this to be enforced,” a statement read.
The organisation said repeated fires across Ireland’s uplands have become an annual feature and are “causing tremendous damage to wildlife, landscape, water and air”.
IWT campaign officer Pádraic Fogarty said:
In the short term we need the law to be enforced to send the message that this destruction is not tolerable. In the long term however we need policies that promote sustainable farming in upland areas. Under the current system both people and wildlife are under threat in these areas.
It was announced today that the European Commission is taking legal action against the British government in relation to their land use policies in upland areas, something the IWT said the Irish government “needs to consider”.