Calls for increased culling and fencing of deer in Killarney

Irish Red deer on the slopes of Mangerton Mountain, Killarney National Park.Photo:Valerie OSullivan
Irish Red deer on the slopes of Mangerton Mountain, Killarney National Park.Photo:Valerie OSullivan

Anne Lucey

The National Parks and Wildlife Service has ruled out fencing off sections of  the Killarney National Park alongside public main roads where deer are crossing onto the paths of motorists.

A campaign has been launched in the town to keep Killarney road users safe from deer.

Gardai in Killarney are receiving reports of collisions particularly in the Fossa area immediately west of the town alongside Lough Leane where large red deer walk directly onto the national secondary N72 Ring of Kerry from the national park .

Old walls which once separated the road from the  park woodland areas are no longer in place, and deer are moving from the uplands onto lowland grazing areas in huge numbers.

Last year 120 mostly red deer were culled by the NPWS. However there are growing calls for a more severe cull as well as for fencing.

Killarney’s sika deer, which are now recognised as  a particularly pure strain of the Japanese deer brought into Ireland in the 19th century, have also increased.

The NPWS  concede the inherently mobile deer are involved in collisions, but say they have “no plans” to fence alongside public roads.

Fencing   thousands of  hectares would not be viable, and  would be “an enormous task” and ineffective, particularly against the smaller sika, it said.

Get the latest news from the Farming Independent team 3 times a week.

Improved signage and sight lines is recommended by the NPWS and they have been liaising with Kerry County Council.

Problems are being experienced in the park area of Muckross  along the N71 ( check) south of the town also. And there have been reports of collisions with motorists several  kilometers from the national park area north of the town.

Now a concerned group including retired coroner for south and east Kerry Terence Casey, politicians, locals and relatives of people who are believed to have been killed while trying to avoid deer have now launched a campaign to make Killarney safer from deer. They want the more dangerous areas fenced off.

Obstructions with motorists are occurring”day and night”, the group said.

Local man Christy Sheehan said that as well as fatalities  which are being attributed to collisions with deer there have been several near collisions.

“Something should be done before someone else is killed or injured,” Mr Sheehan said.

The death of  mother of four Susan Von der Geest  at around 10 am in January 2014 is widely  attributed to deer. Her car ended up in woodland and deer were spotted on the road nearby at Ballydowney on the N72; At the  inquest, then coroner Terence Casey called for deer fencing to be erected urgently deep in the woodland. Ms Von Geest’s partner Donal Moroney is part of the campaign as is Gillian Hughes whose  late sister Paula O’Shea, aged 23, died in 2006 as the result of a road traffic accident, after swerving to avoid deer, the family and gardai believe.

Meanwhile Killarney gardeners and farmers are undertaking desperate measures to try to protect their plants and crops from marauding deer who are jumping walls and moving in herds. Lights, string, tape, electric fencing  and are being used .

“The Department has no plans to fence the National Park. Fencing the National Park would not be a viable solution and would not achieve the desired results for a number of reasons:

The presence of deer is not confined to the National Parks and so fencing of these properties would serve no practical purpose in terms of wild deer control or management.

The Park is over 10,000 ha is size including some rugged terrain. Fencing this area would be an enormous task which is unlikely to result in the desired objective,” the NPWS said in a statement.

Online Editors

For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App