Lessons must be learned from the latest spate of gorse fires across Donegal – Mac Lochlainn
Speaking in the Seanad, Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Minister with responsibility for the Environment and for overseeing the National Emergency Coordination Group, Simon Coveney to clarify what oversight they have had in relation to the recent spate of gorse fires across Donegal and elsewhere in the State.
He was speaking after many local fire and rescue teams were stretched to exhaustion in dealing with a large number of gorse fires across the county.
Senator Mac Lochlainn said:
“Our Donegal fire and rescue teams have worked tirelessly over the last week to contain and extinguish gorse fires across the county. In the Urris area of Inishowen, the crews worked over four days with very little sleep. They were all absolutely exhausted at the conclusion of their efforts.
“Our communities are deeply indebted to them, but we now need to ask questions of the Government.
“Who was overseeing this emergency situation at national level?
“Who was making decisions on the deployment of resources like helicopters with water and Defence Forces personnel?
“Was the National Emergency Coordination Group of senior Ministers and Department officials convened?
“I have raised these important questions in the Seanad and I will be pursuing answers from Minister Coveney. Lessons must be learned from all of this. Our fire and rescue teams and our rural communities in Donegal need to be reassured.”