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Irish Government issues statement on fires in public spaces

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National Parks and Wildlife Service Boosts Patrols and Aerial Surveillance amid Fears for Irish Wildlife and Habitats

In a compelling appeal from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), part of Ireland’s Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the public have been asked to refrain from sparking fires or barbecues in public areas during the forthcoming summer months. The request arises from mounting concerns over the safety of our wildlife and habitats during the hot season.

The NPWS is escalating efforts to guarantee compliance with this call, increasing their ground team numbers and escalating aerial monitoring, deploying both helicopters and drones.

‘Prevention is better than cure’

Ireland’s Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, shared advice with the public, underlining the need for immediate action. If a fire is detected, he insists that people should call the emergency services on 112 immediately. He further noted that the NPWS has reinforced its patrols to identify potential fire situations rapidly. But he echoed a familiar sentiment, emphasising, “prevention is better than cure,” as he encouraged citizens to steer clear of starting fires in open areas.

Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, detailed the potential damage such activities could inflict on our natural surroundings and wildlife: “Our National Parks and Nature Reserves, coastal sand dunes, mountains and upland areas, forests, meadows and urban parks…are also home to our precious wildlife and their vulnerable young,” Noonan said. He spotlighted this critical period for wildlife, notably ground-nesting birds and mammals, currently rearing their young, and advocated for responsible enjoyment of the pleasant weather, without endangering nature.

Report any fire activity without delay

The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, reinforced this request for public cooperation in preserving nature. Despite the increased ground crews and aerial monitoring measures initiated by the NPWS, he emphasised the vital role of public engagement. O Donnchú called upon the public to abstain from lighting fires or barbecues in National Parks, Nature Reserves, or in nature generally. Additionally, he urged the public to maintain vigilance, appealing for them to report any fire activity without delay.

As we approach the peak of the summer season, this appeal from government officials provides a sobering reminder of our shared responsibility to respect and safeguard Ireland’s cherished natural spaces.

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