Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Call for major cull as deer causing havoc - Farmers and property owners say Killarney deer are ruining lands

Sinead Kelleher reporter for The Kerryman on farmers' demands for a major deer cull in Killarney

45 red deer were culled in Killarney National Park last year.
45 red deer were culled in Killarney National Park last year.

Sinead Kelleher

Farmers and landowners in Tomies, Beaufort and Fossa, in Killarney are calling for the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to undertake a major cull of red deer.

Farmers claim that their land is being destroyed by herds of red deer who are eating all their grass, damaging land and trees and putting farmers under financial pressure.

Local farmer, Sean Sweeney, says that he is "frustrated" because the NPWS are not culling the deer and leaving them to roam their lands.

Mr Sweeney said that despite attempts wiring is not doing the job and he says that he is fed up with trying to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

"It is destroying our livelihoods. It is so frustrating."

A cull of up to 300 is needed, Mr Sweeney told The Kerryman.

A Red deer stag and his family take an early-morning stroll around the Killeen golf course in Killarney where the Irish Open will be held next July. Credit: Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin
A Red deer stag and his family take an early-morning stroll around the Killeen golf course in Killarney where the Irish Open will be held next July. Credit: Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

Farmers and landowners can seek a section 42 to cull red deer - which is granted by the National Parks and Wildlife Service - but this generally only allows for a minor cull of two to three deer.

Head greenkeeper, Enda Murphy of Killarney Golf and Fishing Club said that the damage the red deer are causing is placing a financial burden to the club.

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Between 150 and 200 are living on the scenic golf course eating the green and the fairways and damaging all the plants.

"They are meant be in Killarney National Park but they are up around holes, 7, 8, 13, and 10 and 11."

"The biggest problem is their droppings - it is all over everything," he said.

"The situation is brutal. We are very frustrated," said Mr Murphy.

Red Deer in Killarney. Photo by Michael Donnelly
Red Deer in Killarney. Photo by Michael Donnelly

The club estimates the cost of the damage every year is up to €20,000 which includes trying to protect and repair trees; cleaning the greens and fixing turf damage.

Sean Moriarty, who is the manager of the Liebherr farm on the Gap of Dunloe road, says that the NPWS service are not listening.

"It is so frustrating. They need to undertake a cull. It is a fierce problem."

Mr Moriarty has previously been given permission under Section 42 to cull red deer but he says the numbers allowed are far too low.

"It is no good you have to keep applying for Section 42s and it doesn't resolve the situation," he said.

John O'Connor who is renting a farm in Tomies is so frustrated that he is considering no longer renting the land because the deer are eating all the grass leaving him with no feed for his animals - a situation he says has gone out of control in recent years.

"It is costing me at least €10,000 a year. They are eating the grass for 10 to 12 of my cows and no-one is listening," he said.

Cllr John Joe Culloty says that the situation has gotten out of control and despite repeated calls the NPWS are not undertaking the required cull.

"Something has to be done. Farmers are at their wits end and can't go on."

Kerryman