Badger setts causing damage to rural roads 'cannot be removed'

Thomas Lyons

Badger setts which cause subsidence to local roads cannot be removed due to restrictions placed on the Department of Agriculture, it was revealed at a recent municipal district meeting.

The issue was raised at a meeting of Ballyjamesduff Municipal District, and it transpires that the council will have to commit to ongoing maintenance.

Cllr Paddy Smith who tabled a motion calling for the removal of badgers that are causing damage to the local roads.

“This is an ongoing problem on the Aughawee Road in Kilnaleck. There is a sett of badgers underneath the road. They burrow in causing the road to subside. When that is addressed they burrow in another part causing that to subside,” Cllr Smith claimed.

The local authority have undertaken work to repair the subsidence.

“Over the years the council have kept the road in fairly good condition,” Cllr Smith told Tuesday's meeting in Ballintemple. “There are a number of landowners who have raised the matter with me.”

Quite a lot of work has been done by the Department of Agriculture in monitoring the badger population.

“A lot of the badgers have been tested for TB and microchipped and released,” expanded the Fine Gael councillor. “Badgers are not bad animals. They have remarkable hygiene habits, every morning they take their bedding out of the sett and spread it out on the grass to air it.”

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Cllr Smith contacted the Department of Agriculture to see if there was some way they could address the matter.

“I asked if they could remove the badgers. Some of them have been moved, but they say that all they can do is cull 10% of the population.”

Milk tankers

The road problem is a particular problem for heavy vehicles that use the roads. The councillor explained that milk tankers use the road every day of the year: “It's in quite a bad state at present. We are looking to get the council to repair the road. I have been in contact with the engineer and they are going to examine it.”

Addressing Cllr Smith's issue Brendan Smith, the Municipal District Manager, confirmed that the Department were limited in terms of the actions they could take with the badger setts.

Mr Smith stated that it's not possible to remove badger setts and said the road will be subject to ongoing maintenance.

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