Controlled deer cull on the cards for TB blackspots
A controlled deer cull is expected to be recommended shortly to the Agriculture Department, as farmers continue to suffer heavy financial losses in TB blackspots.
Chris Fox, a farmer and councillor sitting on the Irish Deer Management Forum, warned deer numbers were now "out of control" in Co Wicklow.
A pilot study of the carcasses of over 100 deer in the county found 16pc had tested positive for the bacteria behind TB or tuberculosis.
Shane O'Loughlin, a farmer in Aughrim and the head of the ICMSA Wicklow branch, said farmers in the area were seeking a deer management strategy with farmers suffering high losses due to positive TB tests in the county.
"My farm hasn't been locked up now in about three years but I went through about three years where I was locked up regularly," he said, adding deer were now frequently sighted in the county.
Cllr Fox said the initial findings from the draft recommendations of the forum were that a reduction in density of deer would likely have a positive impact on both TB in cattle and also in the deer herd.
"It will be with the minister very shortly. We've had four meetings up to now," he said. "Deer numbers have gone out of control - most farmers in Wicklow are seeing ten to 12 deers a week."