Locals in a small town in Donegal have objected to the burial of 33 whales after plans were put in place to dispose of their carcasses this week.

The whales washed up on Rutland Island, a small island inhabited by a small number of families during the summer, last weekend.

Locals in Burtonport expressed concern about health and safety issues with the burial of the whales.

They want further studies to be done by scientists on how the whales died before a decision can be made to bury them.

Equipment was ready to be transported to a small island off the small town on Thursday morning before objections were put in place.

It has been suggested the deaths could be linked to underwater sonar activity from naval vessels in North Atlantic waters.

Local councillor Marie Therese Gallagher said talks between locals and the council would continue so the concerns of locals could be addressed.

"The council don't have very many options because the only licence the Department of Agriculture has given is the licence to bury them on the strand. They can't get a licence to drag them out to sea because the department will only give a licence to bury them as they believe it is the best option but the locals are saying this has to be discussed."

Dave Duggan of the National Parks and Wildlife Service has advised Donegal County Council to bury the stricken whales where they are.

"The county council would often ask us for our advice regarding disposal and in this case, with these 33 animals on a beach on Rutland Island, our advice was just to bury them in-situ. It's a remote beach and access would be difficult. The only alternative would be to drag them somewhere else with machinery which is really impractical and can cause more harm than not by dragging them around," he stated.