Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin's Chris Hazzard welcomes assistance of Irish Air Corps in Mourne Mountains

More than 100 firefighters worked to put out a gorse fire in the Mourne Mountains

SINN Féin's Chris Hazzard welcomed the assistance of the Irish Air Corps in the major firefighting efforts on the Mourne Mountains over the weekend.

The service was among numeous agencies tasked to Co Down to help tackle the major gorse fire.

Among the services to join the operation were crews from the Irish Air Corps and the Irish Coastguard, which helped more than 100 firefighters and 12 fire appliances from across Northern Ireland fight the blaze.

It is not the first time the service has been involved in emergency operations in the north.

In July 2018, it assisted firefighters as they tackled a wildfire near Tollymore Forest Park. The aircrew were captured scooping seawater just off Newcastle Harbour.

The South Down MP welcomed their assistance in the latest emergency operation.

He said while firefighters were "on the ground" tackling the huge blaze in "very difficult conditions, it was "such a relief to hear the Irish Air Corps are on their way to help".

He also spoke of his concern about the "widespread destruction of the local environment and unfortunately will have had a deadly impact on the rich biodiversity and wildlife in the Mournes".

Stormont Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots who visited the area on Saturday also spoke of how an Irish helicopter would be operational and would later be relieved by one from England.

Read more: Coastguard deployed from Dublin and Scotland to assist major Mourne Mountains blaze

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news