Written answers

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

National Parks

Photo of Danny Healy-RaeDanny Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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449. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if it will be ensured that deer fences are fitted on the boundary fencing around national parks (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21361/21]

Photo of Malcolm NoonanMalcolm Noonan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party)
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It should be noted that while the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department does licence hunting of Deer, my Department does not own the deer population. Wild deer in the State are protected under the Wildlife Acts. They roam freely throughout the countryside and are present in many parts of the country.

Deer, albeit larger, are like other wild animals in this country and it is not part of the remit of my Department, nor indeed would it be generally possible, to cordon them onto specific areas of land. Moreover, 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.

- Killarney National Park alone is over 10,000 ha in size, including some rugged terrain. Fencing this area would be an enormous task which is unlikely to result in the desired objective.

- Sika deer are capable of going under fencing that is 8 inches off the ground while Red deer are capable of knocking fences that are preventing them from reaching traditional feeding and shelter grounds.

- The erection of a fence this size could also impact on the sensitive habitats within the Park.

In the case deer on private property, landowners may apply to my Department for a permission under section 42 of the Wildlife Acts to cull deer where this is necessary outside the annual open seasons.  These permissions offer a facility whereby a person can obtain a permit, on a case by case basis, to prevent serious damage caused by individual deer on specific lands. Permissions are only issued where there is evidence of such damage.

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