JARVEYS operating in Killarney National Park will be hit with penalty points and possible suspension if they break new regulations imposed by the NPWS.
In an unprecedented step, the parks service has listed nine offences attracting various penalty points and which will take effect when permit holders - 35 at present - apply to renew their permits.
Offences range from two points for non-display of a proper registration number, incorrectly fitted dung catchers and failure to empty dung catchers, through to 10 points for the abuse of horses. They apply within park boundaries and not to the town centre.
A total of 10 points will result in a one month suspension and a levy of €10 will be imposed for each penalty point, payable to the NPWS within one calendar month.
"It is part of our ongoing regulation and will affect anyone who is renewing their permit," NPWS Regional Manager Pat Dawson told TheKerryman this week and he added that similar points will apply to other commercial permit holders. It means that boating holders will also be subject to a points system when renewing their permits.
Killarney Jarvey Association Chairman, Pat O'Sullivan, said he only heard about the new regulations on Monday following a letter from the NPWS but added that it had been welcomed generally by local jarveys.
"We had no no inkling in the world about it. It's a good idea alright, all we can do is wait and see how it works out and if park rangers can enforce it," he stated.
"The NPWS is entitled to bring in their own regulations. I would point out, though, that dung catchers are not always 100 percent.
"There is dung in some of the park and the NPWS will need to go after those who are spilling out of the dung catchers and not tar us with the one brush," Mr O'Sullivan added.
It's not the first time the NPWS has stepped up their regulation of the local jarvey trade. In July 2009, jaunting car operators who had initially refused to use dung catchers were banned from the National Park, sparking a failed High Court appeal by 27 Killarney based jarveys who had cited health and safety concerns.
The penalty point system comes a week after Killarney Town Council discussed the renewal of jarvey licences within the town boundaries, with Town Clerk Michael O'Leary revealing that gardai had been called in to investigate two jaunting car operators who were operating illegally.