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Minister of State meets Emergency Teams and says 'Thank You' to everyone involved in fighting Land and Forest Fires

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD, has visited the Coillte offices in Mullingar, county Westmeath, to meet crews involved in the fight against land and forest fires and to get an on-the-spot evaluation of the latest situation.

The Minister of State told a meeting of Coillte, Fire Service, Civil Defence, Defence Forces and Garda personnel who had been deployed: "I want to convey my personal thanks and that of the Government to everyone who has been involved in fighting forest and land fires for the past week or so. It has been a very tough battle but I want everyone of you involved to know how much your courage, skill and long hours of work are appreciated by our people. What you have been doing is the very essence of public service."

The Minister of State continued: "I have been struck by the notable involvement of local communities and farmers in co-operating with the State services in helping to curb and extinguish these fires.   I want to thank them as well and to commend them.  A sense of community of solidarity is something that will help us to pull through the difficult times we face but the way you have tackled the challenge of forest fires gives me confidence that our communities  have the resilience to overcome the many other major difficulties we face".

The Minister of State was briefed on the latest situation by Mr John O’Sullivan, Coillte National Fire co-ordinator and Mr PJ Fitzpatrick, Coillte District Manager.

Date Released: 08 May 2011