It is “absolutely wrong” that farmers are demonised online for starting fires which they are not responsible for, Minister of State with responsibility for heritage Malcolm Noonan has said.

He told the Irish Farmers Journal at the launch of the €20.6m Wild Atlantic Nature Life project last week: “I am absolutely clear, many of these fires are not being started by farmers and I think it’s absolutely wrong to demonise farmers for what is something that is started maliciously.