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Anger as National Park says roaming deer not its problem

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DIVIDED: Road safety activists and animal welfare activists remain divided on how to control the deer population in Killarney National Park. Photo: Philo Brosnan

 

By Sean Moriarty

 

There was widespread anger at Wednesday’s Killarney Municipal Meeting after it was, effectively, revealed that the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) would do nothing to solve the roaming deer issue in Killarney National Park and the wider Killarney area.

Last November, Cllr Brendan Cronin lead a deputation of Ballydowney and Fossa residents to the Council outlining issues connected with the growing issues with large numbers of deer roaming in the Killarney area.

The group – some of whom have lost family members in fatal accidents involving deer – have being campaigning for over a year now but are growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of action by the NPWS.

As a result of this deputation the KMD wrote to the NPWS asking for action on the growing problem.

The NPWS carries out an annual cull, 272 were culled last year and 65 were culled last week in what was week one of a three week programme. Outside of culling deer within the grounds of Killarney National Park the NPWS has absolved itself of all responsibility regarding deer management and said as much in its letter to the Council.

The contents of this letter angered every elected member at the Killarney meeting.

‘The management of animals outside the National Park and in the wider Killarney Valley area is a matter for private landowners and culling and control is not the responsibility of the Department beyond the issuing of licences/permits which may be applied for,’ said the letter, which was seen by the Killarney Advertiser.

“This is insulting to the people who came into the meeting in November,” said Cllr Cronin. “They would badly want to come and talk to the families who have suffered because of this. I feel like beating my head off a strong wall when I see the mentality behind this.”

The NPWS letter further explained that while it does manage deer within the Park it does not own them and this statement further angered councillors.

“So, they can fine a hunter if he shoots one without a licence or hunts out of season, but they don’t own them or can’t manage them for road safety reasons?” asked Cllr Donal Grady.

Last November the residents of Ballydowney and Fossa called for fencing to be placed in their areas to prevent deer escaping – an issue that was highlighted last week by photographs doing the rounds on social media that showed a herd of deer grazing on a busy roundabout.

‘Fencing is simply not a viable solution and would not achieve the desired results,’ said the letter.

The local Council will now form a deputation to the NPWS office in Leinster House in Dublin.

“We are not giving up on this,” added Cronin.

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Killarney Triathlon Club’s open water swim on the lake

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On Tuesday evening last, members of the Killarney Triathlon Club took part in a breathtaking open water swim, starting from Dundag Beach and spanning the middle lake to a nearby island. Covering a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometers, the event saw all participants return safely, basking in a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Killarney National Park, swimmers enjoyed views of woodlands,  mountains, and Muckross House. Safety was paramount during the swim, as it is in all the club’s events. Essential precautions included the use of tow floats, safety kayakers, and safety boats, ensuring the well-being of all participants.

“Our club is incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a beautiful environment,” said Caitriona Shanahan, PRO of Killarney Triathlon Club. “The views during our swims are truly spectacular, and the safety measures we implement help everyone feel secure and enjoy the experience.”

Killarney Triathlon Club offers numerous benefits to athletes of all levels. These include structured training programs, expert coaching, group workouts and more. 

“We welcome all levels and abilities. Joining our club not only improves physical fitness but also offers great fun and the added benefits of stress relief from sea swimming. There truly is nothing like the calming effect of a group swim in the sea.” Caitriona added.

For those interested in joining the Killarney Triathlon Club, more information can be found on their social media platforms and their website, Killarneytri.com.

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Danny Healy-Rae welcomes decision to push back changes for cataract payments

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The Health Service Executive has deferred a move to cut the price it reimburses people for cataract treatments in the European Union and in Northern Ireland, under its overseas treatment schemes and a separate system for the North.

The prices were due to change from the start of this month, but the HSE has pushed the date back so that no one is disadvantaged, and to fully communicate with patients, treatment consultants and providers, cost changes will not come into effect until September 1.

The payments for less complex eye treatments were due to fall from €1,912 to €863 or the National Health Service equivalent of £766 in Northern Ireland. The most common cataract procedure payments were due to reduce from €1,456 to €1,171.

The HSE said that the vast majority of procedures fall into this new payment price. It said that the more complex glaucoma/cataract treatment payments will rise from €1,912 to €4,206.

Danny Healy Rae welcomed the news saying, “Following my representations and raising of this matter in the Dáil, I am glad that the HSE have agreed that they will continue to reimburse the higher rates for cataract procedure for those carried out up to the end of August 2024.

“I am advising anyone who needs to have their cataracts removed to do so now before the change to reimbursement amounts comes in.”

All cataract treatment carried out in Belfast after the 1st September 2024 will be subject to the new DRG rates.

Honouring the Kerry women of the revolutionary period

Kerry County Council is to invite expressions of interest next week for the commissioning and development of a commemorative and artistic piece which will honour the role played by women in Kerry during the revolutionary period between 1912 and 1923.

The project follows a joint motion by the five female members of Kerry County Council who called for the development and commissioning of a meaningful and lasting commemorative piece which would reflect the significant and diverse roles and activities of women and their involvement in the campaign for Irish Independence at the beginning of the twentieth century.

A Working Group, including the five female councillors, has been developing a design brief, and the Council intends to publish a detailed brief for the memorial next week and expressions of interest will be invited.

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