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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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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

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Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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