Wild deer in the State are protected under the Wildlife Acts. It should be noted that while the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department licenses hunting of deer, the Department does not own the deer population. They roam freely throughout the countryside and are present in many parts of the country.
With regard to calls for increased fencing relating to alleged incidents of deer presence on public roads in County Kerry, my Department has no plans to fence the national park. Deer, albeit larger, are like other wild animals in this country and it is not part of the remit of the Department 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. 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 could also impact on the sensitive habitats within the park. There are many deer outside the park boundaries which would still be capable of running into the path of motorists. My Department is of the view that improving sight lines for motorists as well as improved, possibly larger, signage is likely to be the most effective measure to assist motorists in remaining vigilant when driving through areas where populations of deer can be expected. My officials have discussed this with Kerry County Council in 2016 and 2017 and the council undertook to improve sight lines in the Ballydowney area for the benefit of motorists. Additional or relocated advance deer warning signs, or both, may also be provided by the local authority but that is a matter for them.