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Minister of State visits people and areas affected by the recent land and forest fires in Donegal

Following on from his meeting with emergency teams in the midlands, Minister of State Shane McEntee TD visited Donegal on Saturday calling to families, communities and localities across the county that have been devastated by the recent spate of land and forest fires.

In county Donegal, the Minister of State witnessed the extensive damage caused to forestry and property near the towns of Glenties, Ardara and Dunloe. On the road between Ardara and Dunloe there are several private houses where families had been evacuated before the flames were doused within a few metres of the premises. Mr McEntee heard at first hand the stories of some families who had been evacuated.    "Obviously, I’ve had very good, regular reports of what has been happening through our own Forestry Service and Coillte.  However, reports alone cannot convey the full horror of what has happened.  I wanted to see for myself at first hand and to express my solidarity with the people affected", he said.

Representatives of Coillte, the Forestry Service, Gardai, Army, Air Corps and county council briefed the Minister of State on the latest situation in county Donegal, where the fires are now under control but some are still smouldering and are being kept under observation. Accompanied by the Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Dinny McGinley TD, he met a number of local forestry growers. Mr McEntee said: "It’s important that we review what has happened to see what lessons are to be learned for the future. In particular, it may be necessary to develop a template for householders living in remote areas to brief them on how they can help us respond to fire threats and what measures they can take themselves to minimise any potential threat to their own dwellings".

Shane McEntee TD Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine meeting crews involved in the fight against land fires during his visit to the Coillte offices in Mullingar.


Date Released: 08 May 2011