At last, fight is over for farmers penalised after their land was burned by wildfires

After a two-year campaign, it has been confirmed today that farmers whose land was burned by fires that raged two years ago across mountains in the Sligo/Leitrim border area are to get their full farm payments.

The farmers insisted they were being unfairly blamed for the fires; however there has been no official determination as to how they started.

In 2017, fires spread over what was mostly commonage land across four mountainous areas, Killery, Dromore, Crossboy and Castleore.

Hundreds of acres shared by 56 farmers were destroyed.

Part of the land is home to the Sligo Way, of which part of its timber walkway was destroyed.

After the fires, farmers felt they were being unfairly penalised with fines.

The Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environmental, or GLAS scheme, year-on-year payments were also affected, with the result Basic Payments were also hit.

13 landowners appealed fines imposed to the Independent Appeals Office, which took place in the Teagasc office in Manorhamilton as far back as October 2018.

Oral appeals with the department were also held in the The Sligo Park Hotel, where 29 farmers made appeals.

But Sligo Fine Gael Councillor Thomas Walsh says the long campaign has now, at last, finally paid off for the farmers affected.

Kevin Comiskey, Chairperson of the Leitrim IFA Sheep Committee and the Vice-Chairman of the IFA National Sheep Committee, says it was a tough fight.