By Sean Moriarty
Plans for a Killarney Municipal District members to meet with the Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in relation to deer management in Killarney National Park has taken another step back following the announcement, this week, of the General Election.
Kerry County Council had written to Josepha Madigan, TD requesting that a deputation be sent to Dáil Eireann in an effort to solve ongoing deer management issues in the park.
Councillors are concerned that there is little or no action being taken regarding fencing and deer culling despite the constant threat to road users.
“Our message is not getting through,” said Cllr Maura Healy Rae. “We need a meeting with the minister.”
Before Christmas, Madigan, who clearly misunderstood the nature of the problem, said it would be impossible to fence the entire National Park.
“The park is over 10,000ha in size, including some rugged terrain. Fencing this area would be an enormous task that is unlikely to result in the desired objective,” she said at the time.
This lead to a furious reaction from Cllr Brendan Cronin who had previously led a deputation from the Fossa area to November’s Killarney Municipal District.
“They need a rethink, they are not listening,” he said at last week’s Killarney Council meeting. “We are talking about an area from the Cleeney Roundabout to the Golden Nugget [in Fossa].”
However, the election announcement this week will, most likely, lead to a new minister being appointed once the new Taoiseach decides their cabinet, pushing the issue further down the agenda.
They are also concerned that National Parks and Wildlife Services are not taking sufficient action in relation to deer management in the park.
“There were 272 deer culled last year,” said Cllr Donal Grady, “but how many were born?”
Concerns were also raised regarding the lack of suitable Lyme Disease warning signs in the park despite deer being known carriers of the disease.