The proposal to establish a sole body responsible for managing the country’s deer population should not lead to “yet another quango” resulting in further restrictions on farmers, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has said.

ICMSA president Pat McCormack welcomed a new report on managing the nation’s deer population, but warned against further regulations on farmers.

“The likely efficiency [of a sole deer management body] would have to be weighed up against the reality of yet another quango or State agency with whom farmers and landowners would have to engage and on the basis of yet more regulations and restrictions.

“The only herd expanding faster than deer were the number of agencies, quangos and NGOs involved in farming, the environment and land ownership,” said McCormack.

Released this Wednesday, the new report from the Irish Deer Management Strategy Group (IDMSG) said deer management units should be established in “hot spot” areas around the country in the next nine months.

It also recommended that the feasibility of a deer management agency should be researched in the medium term.

ICSA response

The publication of the report was also welcomed by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA).

ICSA animal health and welfare chair Hugh Farrell said the recommendations in the report must be followed through on and the necessary finance be made available.

“It is crucial that the recommendations contained in the report are now acted upon and that the finance necessary to implement those recommendations is provided without delay,” he said.

Farrell added that the ICSA has worked over the years to have the issue of the expanding deer population recognised as a contributing factor in the spread of bovine TB.

“This has been an uphill battle. However, with the Department of Agriculture finally acknowledging this link and the publication of this report we can look forward to addressing the issue constructively.

“By addressing the challenges posed by the deer population, we can take proactive steps to safeguard the health and welfare of our livestock when it comes to TB,” he said.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue appointed an independent chair to the IDMSG in September 2022. It was set up with representatives from the Department of Agriculture, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Coillte.

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Deer management units needed to control deer in 'hot spot' areas