Kerry TD says any seal cull should be humane and sensible

A Kerry TD says any seal cull should be undertaken in a humane and sensible way.

It comes as a Government department says it is considering a pilot scheme where the animals would be culled using high powered rifles from boats.

There are up to 10,000 grey seals and around 5,000 harbour seals in Ireland.

Calls have been made for a cull of the protected species as fishermen claim they are impacting on their catch.

The Irish Wildlife Trust says the issue is low fish stocks, overfishing and the destruction of the marine habitat, not the seals.

One culling license application has been approved this year and another relating to the Blasket Islands was refused as it’s a Special Area of Conservation; three more are being considered.

The Department for Housing, Local Government and Heritage says it is currently examining a pilot scheme to cull seals using high powered rifles on boats; licences could potentially be granted in Kerry and Cork for individual problem seals.

Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae says shooting the seals with high-powered rifles from boats is insane.

Deputy Healy-Rae, a long time advocate for the fishermen and their incomes, says measures must be taken in a humane and sensible way.

He doesn’t want indiscriminate culling to take place that could be cruel but wants fishermen’s concerns to be addressed: