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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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The secret is in the book!

By Michelle Crean  The secret to finding your true happiness is all in a new book which will guide readers to unlock their potential. Brazilian native Michelle Hadad, who moved to Ireland 14 years ago has written ‘The Secret Box: Concave and Convex’, a 432 page book which addresses the issues of suicide and develops into […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

The secret to finding your true happiness is all in a new book which will guide readers to unlock their potential.

Brazilian native Michelle Hadad, who moved to Ireland 14 years ago has written ‘The Secret Box: Concave and Convex’, a 432 page book which addresses the issues of suicide and develops into two different narratives.

It is also a follow up to her previous work ‘The Secret Box…Finding the Key’, a 192 page paperback launched by Michael Healy-Rae TD and reviewed by now retired judge James O’Connor, in October 2017.

Michelle, who studied adult psychology and is a NLP practitioner who encourages clients to transform limiting self-beliefs, explains that this version continues the story of Maria from the first book.

In the first book, the reader compares and contrasts their own life experiences with those of Maria and ask themselves the very question posed at the end of the book in the final chapter or ‘Padlock 13’ – “who are you?”

“Readers are outside the box, they see their own stories – that’s when we judge others,” Michelle told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It is fiction and the story is in two versions, the positive is bigger than the negative. There is always hope regardless of pain.”

She added that people need to forget about what others think, and focus on their own values and traditions.

“It’s a self help book, it doesn’t matter what people think of us, life’s too short. I’m motivating people in a positive way because of my NLP and psychology qualification.”

However, she emphasised that readers don’t have to have read the first book to understand the second one.

“Maria is the leading figure and there’s a few characters from book one but you don’t have to read that to get book two.”

She added that she’s thankful to everyone who helped her along the way.

“I have been blessed to have met so many people to help with my books.”

Both books are available from O’Connor’s Centra, The Reeks and Horans Health Store on Beech Road.

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Green light for teen accommodation

By Michelle Crean  Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead. An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment. The teens living within the premises […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead.

An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment.

The teens living within the premises will be supervised by applicant Eileen O’Brien who will live on the ground floor of the premises.

The two one-bed apartments on the second floor would either be rented out or used for independent living for the teenagers as they reach adulthood.

The two-bed apartment will be on the third floor. There are also plans for balconies at second and third floor levels.

The proposed apartment building is contemporary in design with a mix of stone and render finish on the lower floors and synthetic burned timber finish on the upper floors. The second floor is recessed at the front and the third floor is recessed at the front and the rear with a decorative feature on the front elevation comprising dark grey timber steel poles. The building will also have a flat roof.

Planning permission was granted subject to 14 conditions including a two-metre high boundary wall to be constructed on south, south-western boundaries of the site and there’s to be no overnight commercial guest accommodation.

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Fans return to Fitzgerald Stadium after eight months

By Sean Moriarty Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game. Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game.

Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the first game at the stadium since the 2020 Kerry Petroleum Intermediate Club Football Championship Quarter-Final when Glenbeigh-Glencar played Beaufort on October 4 last year.

Due to current restrictions only 200 fans were allowed attend Saturday’s big match. That will remain in place for Kerry’s opening Munster Championship tie with Clare on June 26.

“It had been more than eight months since Fitzgerald Stadium welcomed back fans to the venue,” stadium PRO Tatyana McGough told the Killarney Advertiser. “Everything went exceptionally well.”

She is hopeful that more restrictions will be eased on July 5, paving the way for an increase in capacity to 500 fans in time for the July 25 Munster Final.

“It is likely that from July 5 up to 500 spectators may be permitted to attend games. We hope this number will increase for the Munster Final. If it is a Cork versus Kerry Munster Final the game will be fixed for Sunday July 25 at 4pm in the Fitzgerald Stadium. The stadium’s staff are very confident in being able to host any number of fans that may be allowed.”

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