President,

 

Last week in Ireland unprecedented wild fires caused enormous damage to lands in Donegal, Sligo and other parts of the country.

 

I would like to pay special tribute to the fire service and the members of the Defence Forces, both troops and helicopter pilots who went above and beyond the call of duty to bring the fires under control. The response of the local community was heartening with young people, farmers and business owners all willing to help out in any way possible.

 

The reality is that the authorities in Ireland must learn from this terrible experience. An emergency plan, similar to that in already in place for road accidents and flooding, must be put in place for wild fires to ensure a better response in the future.

 

The Irish Government must undertake a full assessment of the damage caused with a view to assisting those impacted by the disaster. Finally, Donegal County Council must receive additional funds due to the exceptional costs incurred.