"ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE" SUGGESTS THAT BRAGAN GORSE BLAZES WERE DELIBERATE – Connolly

6 May 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

There was anecdotal evidence to suggest that at least some of the gorse fires that raged though the scenic Bragan area of North Monaghan over the May Bank Holiday weekend were set deliberately, Independent councillor Paudge Connolly claimed at Tuesday’s meeting of Monaghan Co Council.
Members united in praising the efforts of units of Monaghan Fire Brigade, Gardai and other strands of the emergency services who worked to contain the damage caused by the fires during a discussion of the emergency.
In a report on the situation to the meeting, Acting Co Manager David Fallon said that crews of the Fire Services had battled the fires throughout the weekend and were there on the scene until 10 pm on Monday night. There had also been a monitoring attendance overnight by the Fire Service. There were now no fires of concern in the area at present, the Acting Manager stated, adding that the forestry authority Coillte were also satisfied that the situation was under control.
Mr Fallon said fire appliances from Monaghan, Clones and Ballybay had been in full-time attendance at the scene. Praising the efforts of the fire crews, he said their work had been rendered difficult by the windy weather conditions and the nature of the terrain in the area.
The Acting Manager told the meeting that he had no information on how the fires started. A lot of vegetation in the area was lying dead following the severe winter, and the recent dry weather had rendered it like tinder. He called on the public to exercise vigilance and to report any reoccurrence of the fires immediately.
Colr Connolly said he had gone out onto the mountain the previous day, and one could only describe the situation as catastrophic. Remarking on the extent of the destruction of wildlife habitats that had occurred, he said the anecdotal evidence he received was that the blaze had been deliberate. When fire-fighters had the blaze under control in one area, it would start up in another, he pointed out.

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