Gardaí are to work with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to investigate the origins of a gorse fire that has destroyed up to 3,000ha (50%) of Killarney National Park over the weekend.

In addition, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State Malcolm Noonan visited the site of the fire in Kerry and said they were accelerating the recruitment of an additional 50 conservation rangers.

“The main cause of such conflagrations is thought to be the deliberate starting of fires without concern for the emergency services, the local wildlife, habitat, communities or even private property close by. And they are set knowing them to be illegal.

“The devastation this has caused cannot be overstated,” Minister O’Brien said.

His comments were echoed by Minister Noonan, who said that the deliberate setting of fires was “reckless and shameful”.

The emergency services and NPWS were thanked for their efforts and anyone with any information about the fires was urged to contact gardaí or the NPWS.