Malicious fire figures shocking – Clarke
South Down Sinn Féin MLA Willie Clarke has expressed deep shock at figures released from the Department of Health that the Fire and Rescue Service spends 40% of its budget each year on dealing with malicious fires.
"Figures show that over the past five years, call outs to deliberately started fires have cost the Fire and Rescue Service almost one hundred and fifty million pounds.
These figures are truly shocking when one considers the good use this money could be put to elsewhere within the Department of Health.
Gorse fires in particular are on the rise and their long term impact upon wildlife and habitats in our countryside is unquantifiable.
This irresponsible and dangerous behaviour is costing the department millions and putting people's lives at risk. I would call on those people engaged in this mindless activity to stop at once."