Threat of sanctions on farm payments following illegal Kerry fires

The Department of Agriculture says sanctions could be put on farm payments as a result of illegal gorse fires in Kerry.

It’s prohibited for landowners to burn between the 1st of March and 31st of August, but the recent dry spell saw a sharp spike in fires particularly in upland areas.

Ciaran Nugent from the Department of Agriculture in Tralee says the law is clear on this issue and fires at this time of year are completely unacceptable.

Mr Nugent says the Department is currently pinpointing where last weekend’s fires were started:

Over the weekend, Kerry Fire Service dealt with over 20 illegal fires around the county.

This threatened property and in some cases damaged forestry.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer in Kerry James Foley says the practice stretches the service’s resources: