Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Forest Fires

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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98. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will provide details on the number of illegal land fires recorded for 2022. [11612/23]

Photo of Malcolm NoonanMalcolm Noonan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party)
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The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade and the assessment of fire cover needs, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding support.

Detailed data on the numbers of presumed incidents of illegal land fires is not collected by, and consequently is not available in, my Department. The requested information would be available from the individual local authorities.

I wish to take this opportunity, however, to strongly condemn the illegal burning and destruction of nature seen recently. These fires can pose significant risks to the environment, property and people.

My Department works closely with the Fire Service, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and An Garda Síochána, as appropriate, to investigate the causes of fires in our National Parks and Reserves, protected sites and the wider countryside.

Last week the National Parks and Wildlife Service deployed increased fire patrols across sites, including aerial monitoring. Where evidence is forthcoming, appropriate enforcement under the Wildlife Acts or other legislation will be pursued. Cross compliance is also undertaken where appropriate with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

It is incumbent on all of us as custodians of nature and the land to work together to find solutions to avoid this happening in the future.


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