All of the members of the Belmullet electoral area committee of Mayo County Council were full throated in their condemnation of people who have been starting gorse fires across the county in recent weeks.
Cllr Michael Holmes said: “I hope whoever these people are when they put their head down at night know that they are criminals.” The Mulranny based councillor told the April meeting of the electoral area committee about having tried to battle to save 45 acres of his own forestry land near Castlebar from a fire last Monday night. He also told the meeting he was told by the National Parks and Wildlife Service that the fire in around the Ballycroy National Park last weekend was started in three different places and there was no way it could have been an accident.
Cllr Gerry Coyle had his own story of coming across fires in remote part of the area on a roadside in the past week, and trying to put it out with the help of a passing motorist. He said: “People would want to cop themselves on if they are at this kind of thing.”
Councillors Michael McNamara and Rose Conway also voiced their concerns on the issue at the meeting and also praised the work of both the fire service in the county and of local people who help to try to stem the blazes.