27 FEBRUARY 2017
ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has said that farmers in Wicklow are fighting a losing battle in their efforts to reduce the number of TB reactors in the county due to the ever expanding deer population. “Large herds of wild deer are freely roaming, damaging fences, eating valuable grass and other feeds and it’s causing havoc. Added to that is the strong belief amongst local farmers that the deer are causing the spread of TB.”
Mr Sherlock made his comments following a well-attended meeting on the issue organised by Wicklow ICSA in The Glen of Imaal, one of the worst affected areas. “I was given a guided tour of the affected areas by ICSA’s Wicklow national executive member Tom Stephenson and it was a real eye opener to see first-hand how bad the deer problem really is. Recreational hunters will never be able to deal with the overpopulation. Farmers in these areas are at breaking point.”
Mr Sherlock added that ICSA will be requesting meetings with Coillte and National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) to relay our concerns and to stress in the strongest terms the need for solutions to be found. Fencing, controlled burning and deer culling will be some of the options open for discussion. “It is time for a more concerted effort by all sides involved. These farmers cannot be hung out to dry over a problem not of their own making. They need support and they need solutions and for those responsible to step up to the plate.”
Other speakers on the night included: Andrew Doyle TD Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Liam Kelly District Superintendent at the Regional Veterinary Office Naas, Jim Ruttle Wicklow County Council and John Doyle of J P & M Doyle Auctioneers.