The burning of Ireland

TheField

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Driving through Galway a day ago, I was passing cyclists and pedestrians wearing face masks to protect themselves against the smoke that was darkening the evening light. Thought maybe there was a bog on fire nearby but seemingly the smoke was drifting onto the city from the burning Coillte lands at Cloosh.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed broadcast to the nation on RTE this morning and I must say that I thought his response was limpwristed and pathetic.
https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2017/0511/874257-galway-fires-creed/

He reported that there have been '100s' of such fires across the Republic over the last week. I also heard some local people being interviewed near Cloosh and blaming bottles in the grass or cigarette butts or camp fires. UTTER RUBBISH - whilst these maybe occasional causes, the vast majority of these fires are set deliberatedly by landowners and farmers aiming to burn off vegetation. They've been doing it for many decades and it comes up year after year in dry spells. The odd fire may be started malicioulsy by local cider louts etc., but the farmers are responsible for most.
This is well outside the permitted 'burning season' and apart from the obvious potential damage to forests and houses, the losses for wildlife in these areas must be horrendous. Ground nesting birds like pipits and larks and a vast range of small vertebrate and insect life - all wiped out.

And what are the sanctions? A pathetic €1000 fine for a first offence rising to €5000 for subsequent offences with only a handful of successful prosecutions. No farmer according to this mornings report has lost their EU payments as a result of this illegal activity which runs completely against EU policy. Then we have the same people often telling us that the farmers are the 'guardians and protectors of the countryside and the environment' when they are looking to keep or increase their public funding.

This has got to stop and the penalties increased to more like €500,000 and/or jail terms.
 


Bea C

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Sher I'm in touch with Senators and TDs quite a while about all of this, and I've been on the radio.
I've had speedy responses from Micheal Martin and Eamon O'Cuiv with regard to the Heritage Bill, but my whilst my email to 'Burning Heather' drew the immediate acknowledgement from someone in the Dept, I'm still awaiting that response from the Minister I was guaranteed: that was 3 March.
The two boys in Kilgarvan have simply ignored me, as they always do when I've been in touch on environmental and animal rights issues.
Michael McDowell was very impressive, he assured me that he wouldn't let the issue go, as was Grace O'Sullivan - they still are. David Norris and Kevin Humphries also in engaging with me.
The withdrawal of farm payments isn't going to happen. How did Creed phrase it this morning, 'there are consequences for this sort of behaviour': what?
 

Orbit v2

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The state should have seen this coming and run ads on TV warning about the dangers. Not that that excuses whoever started any of these fires. The state seems incapable of reacting to anything unusual. There was even a guy on the radio the other day who said something incorrect. He said that the behaviour that caused this was either "reckless or criminal". In reality it was reckless and criminal.
 

Erudite Caveman

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Sher I'm in touch with Senators and TDs quite a while about all of this, and I've been on the radio.
I've had speedy responses from Micheal Martin and Eamon O'Cuiv with regard to the Heritage Bill, but my whilst my email to 'Burning Heather' drew the immediate acknowledgement from someone in the Dept, I'm still awaiting that response from the Minister I was guaranteed: that was 3 March.
The two boys in Kilgarvan have simply ignored me, as they always do when I've been in touch on environmental and animal rights issues.
Michael McDowell was very impressive, he assured me that he wouldn't let the issue go, as was Grace O'Sullivan - they still are. David Norris and Kevin Humphries also in engaging with me.
The withdrawal of farm payments isn't going to happen. How did Creed phrase it this morning, 'there are consequences for this sort of behaviour': what?
Well there are consequences for the wildlife, and people who live with air polution, and the fire services. Not so much for the arsehole who lit the fire.

The wind drove the plume of some over Galway city (30k away) on Tuesday for a few hours, and it was incredible how dense it was after travelling that far. Beautiful evening, but almost everyone had to retreat inside until it passed.
 

Kitty O'Shea

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The woodland near Gougane Barra was destroyed recently and the fires bordered on burning down houses in it's path. Sheep herds along with wildlife were wiped out - locals could hear the sheep screaming from their houses.

Which makes me wonder why farmers would destroy their source of their income.

I do wonder how many were started due to arson or simply due to the prolonged dry weather. If it's arson, then the full weight of the law; fines, court costs and repay the costs to fire services, pay for losses to Coillte and for any other third party losses. If a farmer(s) started the fires then all of the above plus lose farm payments.

BTW Micheal Creed is useless, all he is interested in, is sitting at the top table in government.
 

TheField

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The state should have seen this coming and run ads on TV warning about the dangers. Not that that excuses whoever started any of these fires. The state seems incapable of reacting to anything unusual. There was even a guy on the radio the other day who said something incorrect. He said that the behaviour that caused this was either "reckless or criminal". In reality it was reckless and criminal.
Yes, it's as predictable as the trolley crisis every winter. The Dept of Ag simply needs to keep an eye on the prevailing weather and issue automatic warnings when prolonged dry spells set in. But there's no use warning people if the sanctions for being caught are so weak.

A lot of resources were put into controlling the Cloosh fires near Galway. I'd make an educated guess that this was less about saving wildlife, trees or even houses and all about protecting the state's huge investment in wind turbines there. I've read that the Galway wind park was the biggest construction project in the west for many years. And not one without controversy. Whilst this particular fires or fires were likely started to improve grazing and simply got out of control, you'd wonder if there couldn't have been a destructive motive?
 

TheField

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The woodland near Gougane Barra was destroyed recently and the fires bordered on burning down houses in it's path. Sheep herds along with wildlife were wiped out - locals could hear the sheep screaming from their houses.
Not a pleasant thought. I seem to recall that there is a story told of that area in the 'Tailor and Ansty' where a farming neighbour wants to reclaim land against the wishes of his neighbours or something like that. Just sneaks up in the middle of the night and torches the land, goes back to bed and throws his hands up in horror at the sight on the next day. And that's a good many years ago.
 

TheField

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How did Creed phrase it this morning, 'there are consequences for this sort of behaviour': what?
Yes, huge consequences for wildlife, large costs to the state in fighting these fires when they get out of control. And virtually no consequences for the supposed guardians of our landscape, the landowners and farmers.

It reminds me of sheep kills by dogs in rural areas. The fingers are always pointed at urban dwellers, bringing their dogs out uncontrolled. Whilst this may happen occasionally, you can be sure the chief culprits are other local farming and non farming neighbours who have dogs loose at night.
 

Prester Jim

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Driving through Galway a day ago, I was passing cyclists and pedestrians wearing face masks to protect themselves against the smoke that was darkening the evening light. Thought maybe there was a bog on fire nearby but seemingly the smoke was drifting onto the city from the burning Coillte lands at Cloosh.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed broadcast to the nation on RTE this morning and I must say that I thought his response was limpwristed and pathetic.
https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2017/0511/874257-galway-fires-creed/

He reported that there have been '100s' of such fires across the Republic over the last week. I also heard some local people being interviewed near Cloosh and blaming bottles in the grass or cigarette butts or camp fires. UTTER RUBBISH - whilst these maybe occasional causes, the vast majority of these fires are set deliberatedly by landowners and farmers aiming to burn off vegetation. They've been doing it for many decades and it comes up year after year in dry spells. The odd fire may be started malicioulsy by local cider louts etc., but the farmers are responsible for most.
This is well outside the permitted 'burning season' and apart from the obvious potential damage to forests and houses, the losses for wildlife in these areas must be horrendous. Ground nesting birds like pipits and larks and a vast range of small vertebrate and insect life - all wiped out.

And what are the sanctions? A pathetic €1000 fine for a first offence rising to €5000 for subsequent offences with only a handful of successful prosecutions. No farmer according to this mornings report has lost their EU payments as a result of this illegal activity which runs completely against EU policy. Then we have the same people often telling us that the farmers are the 'guardians and protectors of the countryside and the environment' when they are looking to keep or increase their public funding.

This has got to stop and the penalties increased to more like €500,000 and/or jail terms.
I read on fupper blaming the fire brigade for starting it in an attempt at increasing overtime. This was a farmer saying this.
 

cozzy121

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The state should have seen this coming and run ads on TV warning about the dangers. Not that that excuses whoever started any of these fires. The state seems incapable of reacting to anything unusual. There was even a guy on the radio the other day who said something incorrect. He said that the behaviour that caused this was either "reckless or criminal". In reality it was reckless and criminal.
An add on d'telly wouldn't stop a stupid think country vegetable of a farmer from setting a fire. He knows damn well that there hasn't been a good spot of rain since the start of April and he does not give a flying flock of the damage his fire would cause, so long as his land is cleared, that is all that matters.
 

Bea C

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I read on fupper blaming the fire brigade for starting it in an attempt at increasing overtime. This was a farmer saying this.
To put towards their summer holidays?

 

Bea C

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Lads, are yee contacting members of the Oireachtas about this?
 

midlander12

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This happens every year. Of course, it's never the farmers!!

A few years ago, during a similar dry spell, the farmer who owns the land around my garden lit a fire to burn bushes he had cut down. He packed them into a massive heap about 10 yards from the boundary, just beside where I have a plastic tunnel, and lit them. I was away for the weekend but came back early for some reason, to find the entire neighbourhood covered in smoke, from a fire that appeared (from the road) to be in my back garden, sparks flying in all direction. If we hadn't doused it down a bit at that stage, I think the tunnel would have gone up and heaven knows what would have happened. The fire smouldered for about 10 days, and would have done so for longer if rain had not started (and never stopped for the rest of the summer!).

When I confronted the farmer about it, and asked him had he not seen the news about fires elsewhere at the time, he actually laughed at me and said "am I not entitled to burn bushes on my own land?" (no is the answer but the law is no consequence to them). I ate the head off him of course and we haven't spoken since. He seemed genuinely bemused as to what I was bothered about.

There is a deep stupidity, combined with recklessness and stubbornness, among certain Irish farmers that is downright scary (I am from a farming background originally myself btw). They do not care what impact their actions have on others nor even think about it. I have little doubt that if that fire had caused serious damage to my property (it didn't but no thanks to him), he would never have accepted responsibility.
 

Stroke

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Some to the turfmen hate the recent habitat directives and the protections they give to rare species that nest in these types of terrains. Burning it is a crude way of ensuring that rare species don't nest on or near your property and to prevent it being designated as an S.A.C......
 

Half Nelson

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The state should have seen this coming and run ads on TV warning about the dangers. Not that that excuses whoever started any of these fires. The state seems incapable of reacting to anything unusual. There was even a guy on the radio the other day who said something incorrect. He said that the behaviour that caused this was either "reckless or criminal". In reality it was reckless and criminal.
 


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