Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 22 September 2017

'Wild deer causing car accidents and wreaking havoc to farmers' crops'

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Concerns have been raised at the levels of the wild deer population in Wexford after a number of recent car accidents involving deer.

Fine Gael Cllr Frank Staples has highlighted the issue and said that motorists in the county are now at serious risk from wild deer on the road, while farmers' land in the area is being severely damaged.

“Wild deer have been causing huge problems in the north of the County for some time but due to there increasing numbers they are starting to move further south.

Staples said there have been a lot of car accidents recently involving deer on roads and deer are starting to become a serious risk to drivers.

“A young mother was driving in a car with her two children when a deer hit the vehicle in the Wexford town district.

“It went up on the bonnet and hit the wind screen.

“Luckily none of the occupants were injured and it didn't go through the windscreen," he said.

Staples said there was also an incident where another motorist had to write off his 141 jeep after it was hit by a huge stag.

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“The driver told me if he was in a car, he would have been dead.” Staples said.

Wild deer are also causing huge problems for farmers across the county, he said.

“Farmers are seeing fences, walls and crops damaged by wild deer. TB is also a huge concern for farmers.

“There was a recent cull of deer in the area and 16% tested positive for TB. Farmers can be totally wiped out by TB.

“I understand that as much as 40pc of the deer in Ireland are in Wicklow.

“I was also recently told that just to keep the population levels stable 30,000 need to be culled annually. Action needs to be taken on this issue by the relevant Departments before lives are lost,” Stapes said.

A limited deer cull is expected to take place in Wicklow in the near future as bovine TB outbreaks remain an ongoing issue in the county.

At a recent meeting of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee the General Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Aidan O’Driscoll said TB incidences of TB in parts of Wicklow stood at 11.9pc, compared to just over 3pc nationally and conceded that there is a problem in the county.

“We are talking to the Department of Arts in relation to deer and we have to have a limited cull in the Callery area working through the two Departments in the near future,” he said.

O’Driscoll also said there is a proposal to introduce a pilot deer fencing project and to undertake a more comprehensive deer study in the county as a whole.

"We said we would introduce this pilot project on deer fencing. We will see what it shows us. Deer fencing is expensive and difficult. But we get the message to prioritise it and we will certainly do it at an experimental level and see what we learn from that.

"Deer may be part of the issue in Wicklow, but my animal health experts would tell me though it’s not the whole picture by any means. Therefore a detailed examination of what’s going on in the Wicklow area is merited," he said.

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