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Deer accidents are costing lives – say locals

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Concerned Killarney locals are calling for greater safety measures - or regular deer culling - to prevent further loss of life and accidents in the town.

BY MICHELLE CREAN

Locals say urgent fencing needs to be erected and gates put in place at certain locations to prevent wild deer from freely roaming out onto roads, saying the Ballydowney, Castlerosse and Muckross areas of the town are the worst affected.
This week, families who have lost loved ones, TD Michael Healy-Rae, Cllr John Joe Culloty, retired coroner Terence Casey and others have lent their voices to a campaign to make Killarney safer by fencing off certain areas of Killarney National Park.
Just this week nine deer died after a herd was struck by a train in between Limerick Junction and Thurles.
Locals say free roaming deer are causing huge obstructions for motorists day and night - and it needs urgent attention from authorities involved.
After being contacted by the Killarney Advertiser this week, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), said that they are aware that wild deer have been involved in collisions with vehicles.
However, they told this publication that it not possible to ‘cordon them to specific areas of land’ and ‘wild deer in the State are protected under the Wildlife Acts’.
“Fencing this area would be an enormous task which is unlikely to result in the desired objective,” the NPWS said.
“The Department is of the view that improving sight lines for motorists as well as improved larger signage is likely to be the most effective measure to assist motorists when driving through areas where populations of deer can be expected.
“Officials from my Department have discussed this with Kerry County Council and the Department understands that Kerry County Council havDeer accidents are costing lives - say locals

Concerned Killarney locals are calling for greater safety measures - or regular deer culling - to prevent further loss of life and accidents in the town.
Locals say urgent fencing needs to be erected and gates put in place at certain locations to prevent wild deer from freely roaming out onto roads, saying the Ballydowney, Castlerosse and Muckross areas of the town are the worst affected.
This week, families who have lost loved ones, TD Michael Healy-Rae, Cllr John Joe Culloty, retired coroner Terence Casey and others have lent their voices to a campaign to make Killarney safer by fencing off certain areas of Killarney National Park.
Just this week nine deer died after a herd was struck by a train in between Limerick Junction and Thurles.
Locals say free roaming deer are causing huge obstructions for motorists day and night - and it needs urgent attention from authorities involved.
After being contacted by the Killarney Advertiser this week, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), said that they are aware that wild deer have been involved in collisions with vehicles.
However, they told this publication that it is not possible to ‘cordon them to specific areas of land’ and ‘wild deer in the State are protected under the Wildlife Acts’.
“Fencing this area would be an enormous task which is unlikely to result in the desired objective,” the NPWS said.
“The Department is of the view that improving sight lines for motorists as well as improved larger signage is likely to be the most effective measure to assist motorists when driving through areas where populations of deer can be expected.
“Officials from my Department have discussed this with Kerry County Council and the Department understands that Kerry County Council have prepared a scheme of works, which includes a number of measures including trimming back of overhanging tree branches, enhancement/relocation of road-side signs, etc., in this regard.”
Sika deer, NPWS added, are capable of going under fencing that is eight inches off the ground while red deer are capable of knocking fences that are preventing them from reaching traditional feeding and shelter grounds.
“The erection of a fence this size could also impact on the sensitive habitats within the Park.
“There are many deer outside the Park boundaries which would still be capable of running into the path of motorists.”
TD Michael Healy-Rae said that this has been an issue he has raised in the Dáil numerous times over the years.
““I love to see the fine red deer like everyone else but they’re out of control.
“Deer are now in places they hadn’t been before,” he said.
“The deer are so bad, they’re like a plague of rats.”
He explained that the only way of controlling the deer is by regular culling.
“We need to reduce our deer population in Ireland by 70 percent. The deer will then go to their natural habitat higher up and away from people.
“If you reduce the herd of all species by 70 percent, it’d be more sustainable.
"They’re costing lives. They have been accidents I fully attribute to deer. “People are swerving and we’ve had accidents that are not accounted for which have been caused by deer.”
And he added that he regularly hears about accidents involving deer, from his constituents.
“I hear it on a continuous basis.
“There’s a section of road between Kilgarvan and the main Killarney Road - there are accidents there involving deer every week.”
Local man Christy Sheehan said that he knows of two people who were killed on the road at Ballydowney, just beyond the golf club, 25 years ago.
“I see so many fellas coming to me saying I was so close to hitting a deer. Something should be done before someone else is killed or injured.”


“Something has to be done before someone else dies”

Partner calls for urgent fencing before another fatal accident occurs

Donal Moroney lost his partner Susan Von der Geest five years ago after her car suddenly left the road and hit a tree at Ballydowney. It’s believed she had swerved to avoid deer on the road.
The couple’s youngest child, daughter Louisa who was then aged eight, luckily escaped with less serious injuries and has no memory of that tragic day.
The mother of four had been travelling to Cork with Louisa for an appointment at around 10am, on January 6, 2014.
Donal this week told the Killarney Advertiser that “something has to be done before someone else dies”.
“My partner Suzie and youngest daughter Louisa were going to Killarney and were going to get the bus to Cork for an appointment,” he explained.
“Not too long after she left, maybe half an hour, I got the call from the Gardai that she had died in the crash and that my daughter was gone to hospital injured. Her car just left the road suddenly and hit the tree. They cut down some trees since it happened.”
He said that ever since then he regularly sees deer crossing the road there.
“As late as a few days ago I saw seven deer at the same spot of the accident. It’s totally irresponsible of whoever’s in charge. It’s one of the busiest roads in Kerry - it’s the Ring of Kerry road, a main thoroughfare between Killorglin, which is a big employer at the moment, and Killarney.
“There’s no protection what-so-ever from animals going out on the road. If that was a private farm you’d have to have your animals fenced in. No one seems to want to take responsibility. It’s another accident waiting to happen.”
He said that just a week after she died another accident happened there.
“When they wander out they come out of the trees and they blend in and you can’t see anything. They’re totally camouflaged, next thing he just wanders out on to the road and you see him at the last second - a deer as big as a cow.”
There should be some big signs put up for the public, he added.
“They should definitely have fencing, I mean how many busses pass here every day during the high season. It’s only a matter of time before a much more catastrophic accident happens. Everything should be investigated. There’s so many roads coming on to here (Ballydowney). It’s a highly dangerous bend. They took down a wall here many years ago. That was a definite barrier. When they took down the wall what were they planning? They should have put a barrier back up.”


“Somebody is going to get killed again”

Gillian Hughes sister Paula O’Shea lost her life on the Ballydowney road when she was just 23 years-old. The accident happened on a June night at approximately 2am. It’s believed she swerved to avoid deer on the road.
“We believe she swerved from a deer and she hit the fencing post,” Gillian told the Killarney Advertiser this week.
Paula initially survived but was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
“There was deer reported 10 to 15 minutes before the accident. The same girl would have swerved - she loved animals.
“She was doing 45 miles an hour, they were satisfied (the garda technical experts). They could tell what speed she was doing.
“She’d have been able to take that turn at 60mph they were saying. Her tyre pressure was good, the car was in good working order, there was no reason for her to leave the road. There was no brake marks - she had to swerve from something.”
Gillian said that something needs to be done urgently.
“I came on an accident myself three years ago, she had hit the deer right here (Ballydowney), the deer ran across the road in front of other cars. I got out and tried to help her - it was black dark, 7pm on a winter evening.
“He could have caused another accident. I have reported at least 10 times every time I see a deer on the road I report it. I’ve seen deer several times myself - on the roundabout at Ballydowney, a herd of them crossed in front of me one night. They’re just everywhere.
“Another time, I’d say Paula wasn’t dead a month, I was driving from Killarney and four or five of them came down a road and crossed in front of me.
“It happens all the time and you get an awful fright.
“Somebody is going to get killed again - it’s only a matter of time.”
Her solution to the problem is to erect fencing.
“Fence them back - it’s the only thing for it. Maybe the fence doesn’t have to be along the edge of the road, could it not go further back? Just to stop them coming in.”


“Hitting deer is like hitting a stone wall - it’s extremely dangerous”

Retired coroner Terence Casey, says he has come across a number of fatal accidents in this area over the years.
“I remember after the death of Susan Von der Geest back in 2014, I called upon the Board of Works to fence off the place here (Ballydowney) from the main road because originally there was a five foot wall here, and when that wall was here you didn’t hear of many accidents. Now, it can be seen as free for the deer to come from the fields through the trees and cross the road. There’s nothing to stop them, nothing to hinder them.
It’s extremely dangerous.”
He explained that after that inquest the amount of phone calls he received from people who had accidents, was unbelievable.
“Only material damage - thankfully not fatal, and nothing can be done. I wrote to the Board of Works and I asked them to put up a fence. I got the reaction back that it would be an eyesore on the main Killarney Road. I said put it 10 or 15 feet into the wood at least it would stop the free flow of animals out. Their answer was more or less ‘but sure they’ll jump the fence anyway’.
“If you look into the woods they don’t have enough running room to jump high. If it hindered 50 percent of the them coming out onto the road wouldn’t it be worth it?”
He said that many years ago the wall was demolished but “absolutely nothing” was put up to stop the deer or any other wild animal coming out on to the road.
“If a fox came out on to the road you could brake or swerve to avoid it - but a deer - you’ve no chance. If it’s a red deer - it’s like hitting a stone wall. The amount of people who have had accidents and reported it to the gardai - the gardai can do nothing about it because it’s not a criminal offence - they’re wild animals. The liability in my mind is back on the OPW to put up some sort of a fence to stop the free flow of animals out onto the road. It may not stop them all but it’ll stop the free flow. And if that saves one life - isn’t it worth it?”


A better deer management plan is needed – says Cllr

Cllr John Joe Culloty this week told the Killarney Advertiser that the number of deer are too high in the National Park and that culling needs to be done.
“Deer hunting season opens the first of September so there should be a lot of deer culled at this stage,” he said.
“I don’t think they are and certainly there aren’t enough deer being culled.
“There is a process there where they need to get a deer management plan where they can be told what deer to cull, where to cull them, when to cull them, how to cull them - and follow that plan.”
He added that the ecology of the park is also being compromised.
“There are too many deer in the park and they’re wandering around on the roads. And it’s only a matter of time before there will be a death because there are too many accidents.”
As a councillor, he says that he regularly hears about the huge amount of accidents and near misses from his constituents.
"I get regular calls,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s people’s lives that matter. I do think there’s merit in putting up a fence - it’s too important.
“It’s here (Ballydowney) the numbers of deer are too high but you have the same thing on the other side (Muckross).”
He added that fencing wouldn’t really be an option on the Muckross side but that culling and keeping the numbers down is the only answer.
"All you can do is keep the numbers to a sustainable level.
“Culling deer is a humane thing to do if it’s done right, and the fellas that do this are professionals but they’re not getting either financed to do it or they haven’t the numbers to do it - but it’s not being done to the level it should be.”

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Are you getting enough sleep?

By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed. Incorporating a […]

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By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness

We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed.

Incorporating a routine helps to bring direction and structure, and as Craig Ballantyne so wonderfully put it in his book ‘The Perfect Day’; “Structure = Freedom”.

In our childhood, we became accustomed to a bedtime routine. In fact, those of us who are parents go to great lengths to create this routine for our own children, knowing the benefits it brings. However, as we moved into adulthood, that same routine was thrown out the window by the demanding world of school and full-time work.

Sleep and health are locked together. When we improve our sleep, we have better energy, mood, and recover easier from exercise. When we sleep better it helps us to make better nutrition choices because sleep regulates our hormones. Yet it’s one of the first things we sacrifice in order to get through our full to-do list. Whatever these or our end goal is, jeopardising our health seems to be counterproductive and also just a little crazy! Why is it that as adults we stray so far away from one of the very foundational rituals that can keep us feeling grounded?

So how much sleep do you need? About six to eight hours is good but the exact number depends on the person. No matter who you are, you’ll feel worn out if you don’t get enough.

Here are some suggestions to help you achieve greater balance and a sound night’s sleep:

Limit caffeine:

It takes a long time for caffeine to get out of your system, so avoid it late in the day. Typically, have your last caffeinated drink 10 hours before your bedtime.

Be active:

Physical activity reduces stress and improves sleep. One exception is not to do a hard workout right before bed as it might be tough to wind down for a while afterwards.

Unwind early:

Turn off screens well before bedtime. Bright screens can mess with your body’s sleep mechanisms, so turn off TV’s, tablets and smartphones earlier in the evening. Take the dog out, brush your teeth, get into your pyjamas, and get into bed before the time you want to be asleep.

Brain dump for the next day:

Spend 5-10 minutes each night writing a list of to-do items to ensure you hit the pillow feeling organised and in control.

Set out your clothes the evening before:

This small task can save you a lot of last-minute rushing. Take the extra five minutes now when you have it.

Cool, dark and quiet:

When it comes to sleep, you want it cool, dark and quiet. Adjust the temperature or get a fan going, hang some blackout curtains and try to reduce any noise near your bedroom.

Buy an alarm clock:

This will help you to avoid being distracted by notifications should you wake and check the time in the middle of the night. Set an alarm right now for tonight. When it goes off, start your evening routine so you get into bed on time for a good night’s sleep!

Here at Activate, we promote and encourage balance to ensure we are living a happy and healthy life. Sleep is one very essential and key component of this. We hope these tips help you get some much-needed rest! When you combine great sleep with sound nutrition and solid training, you’ll feel amazing and make more progress toward your goals.

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Kerry Stars “pursuing dream to build own sports centre”

By Sean Moriarty Kerry Special Olympics Club is still pursuing its dream to build a sports centre in Derreen, a senior club official has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser. The club has identified a site, with support from Kerry County Council, between the existing Killarney Legion and Killarney Celtic sports grounds. However, the project remains […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kerry Special Olympics Club is still pursuing its dream to build a sports centre in Derreen, a senior club official has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser.

The club has identified a site, with support from Kerry County Council, between the existing Killarney Legion and Killarney Celtic sports grounds.

However, the project remains on the long finger as the club has been concentrating on the safety of its members throughout the pandemic.

The delay prompted Cllr Donal Grady to ask Kerry County Council if it had any plans to build houses on the site.

Mr Grady asked the question in the context of making sure the land did not go to waste and not in opposition to any plans by Kerry Stars.

“The site referred to was originally identified as a potential site for development as a specific sports facility. That project has not materialised,” a Council official said.

“Kerry Stars had been in contact with Kerry County Council regarding use of the site, and it was expected that further communication would be received from them in the very short-term. As yet, Kerry County Council is awaiting further communication and will liaise directly with the Kerry Stars group before we can give consideration to use of the lands under the ‘Housing for All’ housing plan.”

However, Kerry Stars chairman John Spillane said they still “have every intention of pursuing our dream of have our own sports centre”.

“The location makes perfect sense, it is the sports hub of Killarney and all the clubs there could help and learn from each other.”

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