Judge says State not killing enough deer as motorists face danger of deer landing on their car bonnets

Two deer go eye to eye to see who is the best.
Two deer go eye to eye to see who is the best.

Gordon Deegan

A judge has stated that the State agency responsible for wildlife is not doing enough to kill sufficient numbers of deer resulting in motorists facing the danger of deer landing on their car bonnets.

Judge Patrick Durcan made his comment at Killaloe District Court after a Co Roscommon man pleaded guilty to hunting deer without a licence near the east Clare village of Scarriff on January 21st last.

In the case, 42 year old father of three, Brian Dolan of Cloonslanor, Strokestown, admitted shooting a male fallow deer at Gortnaderra, Scarriff on January 21 last.

Judge Durcan said yesterday that Mr Dolan is a decent man, had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity “and I am not going to criminalise  him over this. He has done all the right things”.

Instead, Judge Durcan ordered that Mr Dolan pay €100 to the Court Discretionary Fund or Poor Box and that would be the end of the matter.

Solicitor for Brian Dolan, James Nash said that there is “an epidemic of deer” in east Clare and that his client was only 21 days outside the permitted season for shooting deer which goes from September 1 to December 31.

Judge Durcan said that if the man had wasn’t three weeks late shooting the deer, he wouldn’t be guilty.

At the court sitting at O’Donovan’s bar in Ballina, Judge Durcan said “certain roads in this country are a danger because deer are quite capable of jumping into your pathway”.

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Judge Durcan said that roads linking Ballinrobe to Tuam “there is a huge danger at this time of year along that entire road of deer jumping into your path and onto the bonnet of your car”.

He said that this is the case, “because the state agency, the Wildlife Service really don't take adequate steps to undertake adequate culling or interact with sporting organisation to make sure that adequate culling takes place”.

He said: “Culling of deer is not properly looked after by the State.”

Insp Tom Kennedy stated that deer “are very plentiful in east Clare as well and create havoc for farmers by eating all around them”.

However, Insp Kennedy said that people traversing parts of east Clare in large jeeps late at night shooting deer “creates a huge anxiety to the local communities”.

Giving details about the case, Insp Kennedy said that locals heard shots fired at Gortnaderra at Scarriff at around 10.30pm on Saturday, January 21.

He said that Garda Hilda Moloney stopped a jeep with four occupants.

He said that she was led to believe that they were shooting foxes but then she saw the remains of the deer in the back of the jeep.

Insp Kennedy said that Mr Dolan admitted that he shot the deer and to his credit was extremely co-operative.

Insp Kennedy added Mr Dolan had a license for his gun but no licence to shoot deer at that time of year.

Insp Kennedy agreed with Mr Nash that Mr Dolan “was absolutely forthright, gentlemanly and honourable on the night”.

Mr Nash said: “Mr Dolan has been shooting all his life, he was out of season 21 days – he doesn’t deny that. It wasn’t their intention that night to shoot deer. They were out shooting foxes but a deer came across them. He is a shooting man. He fired and he got the deer.”

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