By Sean Moriarty
There are no plans to fence Killarney National Park for deer management purposes, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan has said.
Earlier this month, a deputation of concerned residents from the Ballydowney and Fossa areas highlighted their concerns to local representatives at a Killarney Municipal District meeting.
They were concerned on the number of accidents involving deer, including fatalities, and wanted local and national politicians to immediately act as they feared even more lives would be lost.
Last week, Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae raised their concerns in the Dáil – but Minister Madigan told him that a fence surrounding the National Park was not an option.
“Fencing is simply not a viable solution and would not achieve the desired results for a number of reasons,” she said. “Firstly, the presence of the species is not confined to the National Parks and consequently fencing of these properties would serve no practical purpose in terms of wild deer control or management. The erection of a fence this size could impact on the sensitive habitats within the park.
“Secondly, 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. Thirdly, some smaller animals are capable of going under fencing that is eight inches off the ground, while others are capable of knocking down fences.
“Finally, the erection of a fence this size could also impact on the sensitive habitats within the park.”
Minister Madigan added that her department manages an annual cull in the Park and that last year’s cull totalled 272 animals, an increase of 32 over the previous 2017-2018 cull. The 2019-2020 season is just underway.