Minister says fires in Killarney National Park were violent crimes

Killarney National Park Fire. Image by Valerie O'Sullivan.

The fires in Killarney National Park were violent crimes.

That’s according to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan who has responsibility for national parks.

She outlined the significant damage caused in Killarney during questions in the Dáil recently.

A large portion of Killarney National Park was damaged as a result of the fires.

The full impact caused by the fires has yet to be determined, however a damage assessment of the Torc site revealed that about 155 acres were caught in the blaze.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan says the recent fires in Killarney National Park, which occurred during the closed burning season, were illegal and a violent crime.

She says it has severely affected the natural area with a loss of nesting habitat for meadow pipits, skylarks and other birds.

The fires also impacted on the small mammal communities as well as causing significant damage to the wet heaths and blanket bogs.

Deputy Madigan says these fires underline the fact that ground conditions are extremely dry and that an extension to allow burning in March would be unwarranted and would have also been irresponsible.

She also praised the Kerry Fire Service, staff of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in Killarney and volunteers for their efforts during the fires.