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Killarney National Park
That's two deer

Red deer from Kerry could be introduced to the Phoenix Park

Minister Jimmy Deenihan’s hoping they’d get along with the Dublin deer, and says his officials are looking into the suggestion.

RED DEER FROM Killarney National Park could be introduced to the Phoenix Park in Dublin, Arts & Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan has confirmed.

The Minister, whose department has responsibility for the country’s six national parks, said his officials would look into the possibility.

He was responding to a suggestion from Fianna Fáil TD Seán O’Fearghaíl in the Dáil yesterday.

“It has always struck me as strange that the magnificent Phoenix Park in this city is populated by a herd of fallow deer,” O’Fearghaíl said.

One wonders, since fallow deer are quite common, as are the sika species, whether it would be desirable in the short to medium term to consider relocating some of the Kerry deer to the Phoenix Park in order that, in our primary city park, we could have examples of that magnificent species, the Irish red deer.

I think visitors to the city would like to see the native species grazing there.

Mixing species

“If that is possible, certainly I would support what the Deputy has said and I will ask my officials to examine that,” the Minister responded.

“There may be some issue with mixing two species and there may be some reason this has not happened.

If it can happen, I agree with the Deputy that red deer would be a major attraction and a major addition to the Phoenix Park, which is one of the most spectacular parks in any city in the world.

The red deer of Killarney National Park are regularly monitored, and a recent census showed there were some 600 in the nature reserve.

Deenihan, who represents Kerry North, said the move would be “another great contribution that my county has made to this wonderful city”.

“Don’t teach them how to play football,” Fianna Fáil’s Michael Kitt cautioned.

Read: From ‘The Floozie’ to Father Ted: Dublin’s park sculptures in 10 fascinating facts

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