While it is not yet clear how the fires started, Senator Eugene Murphy said he fears that the recent blazes in a bog in Co. Roscommon “may have been exacerbated by the presence of illegal dumping in the area”.

Several fire crew units attended “major bog fires” on Saturday night, which occurred between Strokestown and Tarmonbarry in Co. Roscommon.

The Fianna Fáil senator for Roscommon/Galway has called on Roscommon County Council “to redouble their efforts in dealing with illegal dumping in the Strokestown area”.

‘So much material dumped illegally which could be hazardous’

“Emergency services from Roscommon and Longford were called to the Drinagh area outside Strokestown off the N5 on Saturday evening as they battled with several acres of bog fires,” the senator said.

“I was at the scene myself and it was quite a significant area which was under fire. The Curraghroe link road is a very busy road and I must commend the local fire services for getting the fires under control and thankfully there were no reports of any injuries.

While it is not clear how the fires started, I fear that the ongoing problem with illegal dumping in the Culliagh and Drinagh areas may have exacerbated the situation.

“If a bog fire starts in these areas, there is so much material dumped illegally which could be hazardous or volatile in a fire, such as aerosols, oil, batteries, milk cartons, ashes, which leads to widespread damage not only to the natural environment, but can also put local residents or road users under threat, so it has to be taken seriously.”

He has called on Roscommon County Council to “consider employing a private security firm to monitor or patrol illegal dumping blackspots, such as the Culliagh area of Strokestown, in a bid to tackle the problem”.