THE charred remains of a dog were found in the ashes of a May Eve bonfire lit in Ballynanty, one of 50 fires Limerick City Council expects will cost €20,000 to clean up.
Local councillor Maurice Quinlivan said he believed the dog was more than likely dead when it was thrown into the flames. “I’m pretty confident the dog would have been already dead. There are not people that depraved living in the area,” he said.
The Sinn Fein councillor said that May Eve seems to have gone off without the trouble of other years.
“This was the first year I actually didn’t get a single phone call about it. Normally you would get calls about fires being lit too close to people’s houses or messing or drinking or anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of fires but that didn’t happen this year,” Cllr Quinlivan said.
On a busy night for Limerick City Fire Service, crews were called out to a total of 17 incidents, including fires at five vacant houses in Westbury and Moyross.
Last year a number of firemen were attacked when reporting to May Eve calls but there was no repeat this week, according to Henry Street gardai.
Director of environmental services at Limerick City Council Caroline Curley said she wished to “acknowledge the good work of community groups who did try and bring a level of control on what would go on to the bonfires but that didn’t work in all areas”.
“There was an amount of hazardous materials that were put on bonfires last night,” Ms Curley told Limerick’s Live 95FM. This had included mattresses, aerosols and household cleaning products. She also confirmed that a dog carcase had been found on one of the bonfires.
Prior to May Eve, Limerick City Council had assisted some community and estate management groups to provide skip collections to prevent furniture and other bulky items falling into the hands of local children and being cast into bonfires.
Warnings had also been issued that people involved in the opportunistic burning of waste could be prosecuted under pollution laws.
“Bonfires are often used to get rid of waste in the community. This is not the work of local youths lighting a bonfire for May Eve fun.
“This is an organised collection of tyres, mattresses, garden furniture and so on. Burning waste creates air pollution and damages local greens. The council has a recent conviction in the courts for burning a mattress on a green,” Ms Curley said.
Last month, a woman was also convicted at Limerick District Court for having burned out a sofa in Moyross, something she claimed in a letter to the council to have done to prevent local children injuring themselves when doing the same thing.
She was fined €300 and ordered to pay €190 in costs to City Hall.