By Matt Cassidy
Galway city councillor Noel Larkin has described the setting of a fire at Cúl Trá halting site as "stupid and ridiculous".
The Independent councillor was passing the halting site in a taxi at around 1am when he noticed a "massive fire at the back of the hardstand".
When the councillor approached the site, he was informed by men present that they were burning rubbish.
Earlier this year, the families of Cúl Trá were issued with a notice to vacate the site by the city council amid safety concerns of overcrowding.
"Starting a fire in such a built-up area is incredibly stupid and ridiculous," Cllr Larkin says. "The flames of the fire were between 20 feet and 30 feet high. I cannot believe people would take such a risk, not only for the inhabitants of Cúl Trá, but also the people living in the surrounding areas.
"The site was designed was designed to host six families, but at present there are 18 so it is very much overcrowded and one of the council's greatest fears is of a fire breaking out causing a loss of life.
"I am extremely disappointed after all the effort that has been put into fire prevention training by Galway City Council along with providing fire extinguishers on site."
The former mayor appealed to the residents of Cúl Trá and the wider public not burn rubbish and start fires in built-up areas.
"I would like to remind people that the burning of rubbish is not permitted and is subject to a large fine. The setting of fires in built-up areas is very dangerous and I ask the residents of Cúl Trá and the public in general not to do so and compromise their own safety and the safety of others."