McEntee calls for deer control to be made the priority
Deer control must be put top of the forestry agenda, Minister of State Shane McEntee has announced.
A comprehensive deer management strategy similar to Scotland is required in Ireland, he told last week's Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture.
Mr McEntee said deer were a major problem in hardwood forests of Co Wicklow and elsewhere.
"I was with a farmer in Wicklow and one morning he went out to his field of silage and there were 200 deer sitting on it," he added.
"I will be seen as a cruel Minister of State if I talk about this, but the deer problem has to be addressed," he told the committee.
"I am not talking about the slaughtering of deer, but a proper management system like they have in Scotland."
In Scotland, landowners have a responsibility for the welfare of deer and their natural habitat. This involves management of deer numbers, mainly by regular culling, to ensure that there is sufficient grazing for the herd and other animals, without causing damage.
More than 70 Scottish Deer Management Groups mostly cover the Highlands, but these are now becoming established in other areas where there are large commercial forests.