“The response from Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, towards deer management in Ireland has been criticized as “ridiculous” by Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath. McGrath’s comments come in response to McConalogue’s announcement of the development of a strategy for sustainable management of the national deer population through the recommendations of five sub-committees. McGrath expressed his disbelief at the minister’s decision to form committees, stating that it would take “two years” for any meaningful action to be taken. He added, “Set up a committee? God help us if that’s his response.”
Earlier this week, during a session in the Dáil, McGrath questioned the minister about the government’s plans to address the increasing deer population. He referred to a survey in which 86% of the 1,500 respondents believed that deer culling was necessary. McConalogue outlined the creation of five sub-committees focusing on legislation, venison, collaboration, training/education, and solutions for land management. The minister emphasized the importance of sustainable deer management for agriculture, forestry, and overall biodiversity.
McGrath, who is also a landowner, shared his personal experience with the deer population, stating, “I’ve land myself, and you could see 20 deer in the field. It’s the same as 20 cattle in the field. If you’re trying to feed cattle over the winter and the spring, a deer can come into the sheds and eat as much as a weanling. The country is overrun with deer, especially in rural parts where good land is. They’re wiping out farmers’ crops, their fences. Everything. They’ll have to do something very fast because it’s out of control.”
This is not the first time that McGrath has raised concerns about deer culling in the Dáil. He highlighted the havoc caused by the deer population in both rural and urban areas, including car accidents and damage to vehicles. Another TD, Danny Healy-Rae, also expressed his worries about the increasing number of deer in the national park in Killarney, stating, “Are we going to have more acres like the 26,000 acres in the national park in Killarney completely overrun with deer that are out of control, killing people on our roads and robbing farmers’ grazing? For decades, people were vilified and criminalized by environmentalists if they touched a deer. Now, the same environmentalists are saying that the deer will have to be culled to help biodiversity.”