• The Department of Agriculture has issued a warning about the risk of forest fires during the current warm spell - the orange alert remains in place across the country until Friday.

    Coillte's communications manager Pat Neville has also urged the public to be vigilant.

    He said the highest risk of forest fires is at this time of year, when last year's vegetation has not fully decomposed and become dried out.

    Mr Neville said most forest fires do not start naturally, and lighting a campfire or having a barbeque can have potentially catastrophic effects.

    He says the public have an important role in protecting forests from fires.

    The warning comes following extensive gorse fires across Dooyork in Geesala over the weekend.

    The blaze, which threatened a number of homes, was eventually brought under control yesterday evening.

    Erris-based FG Councillor Gerry Coyle has praised the local community for assisting the fire services in bringing the blaze under control, and he's pleading with people not to heedlessly throw away cigarette butts....

  • Coillte must pay for the damage it does to roads in county Mayo when harvesting its forestries.  If it fails to do so then, elected councillors are calling on Mayo county Council to object to any planning that the state forestry company seeks for planting or felling in the county.

    That was the message from councillors who questioned Coillte representative Colm O’Dwyer who attended the recent  monthly meeting of Mayo county council.

    Coillte owns 41,000 hectares of land in county Mayo, and councillors spoke of the extensive damage the company’s lorries and machinery have caused on roads in the region.

    Crossmolina based Fianna Fail councillor Michael Loftus highlighted what has happened outside Crossmolina, where he estimates 200,000 euro in damage has been caused by Coillte  to the road at Shanvolahan forest.

    All councillors contributed to the extensive debate, describing various areas of the county and alleging that Coillte’s activities along rural routes is causing damage and destruction.

    Councillor Michael Loftus has been speaking to Midwest News more about the problems.