Man who shot Killarney stag to pay €3,250 as ‘atonement’

Court told animal was from herd of red deer native to Co Kerry and could not be replaced

A man has agreed to pay €750 to the Department of Heritage for use in Killarney National Park and €2,500 to a court poor box as “an atonement to society” for shooting a red deer stag in Co Kerry.

The court was told the Killarney red deer herd was unique and could not be replaced by red deer from other parts.

Richard Cullinane (37), with an address of Lisnacon, Kanturk, Co Cork, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to hunting and killing a red stag, a protected species.

The charges were brought by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the Wildlife Acts.


The maximum fine for the offence is €635 and or three months imprisonment, State solicitor Ed O’Sullivan, prosecuting on behalf of the Minister, outlined today.

The stag was from a population of ancient red deer, native to Co Kerry and only found in the Killarney National park and its environs.

The dead stag could not be replaced by a stag from elsewhere as it would not have the same DNA, State witness, Dr Tim Burkitt, of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, confirmed to Mr O'Sullivan.

Asked about the size of the Killarney herd, Dr Burkitt said the numbers were “reasonable” but added the Killarney red deer were “fully protected all year round,” he said.

During an earlier hearing the court was told the head and neck of a red deer stag was taken to a taxidermist to be stuffed and mounted as a hunting trophy.

DNA tests showed it matched the hindquarters of a stag found by Dr Burkitt in the field at Loo Bridge Glenflesk on November 7th, 2011.

Padraig O’Connell, solicitor for Mr Cullinane, said his client was the father of a young child, was in gainful employment, had never been in trouble before, had no previous convictions, and was of good background and character.

He had co-operated fully and immediately offered to replace the deer.

“My client is extremely sorry. This was an error of judgment, a once-off,” Mr O’Connell said, pleading for a non-custodial sentence.

Judge James O’Connor imposed a contribution of €750 to the Department, to be ring-fenced for the use in the Killarney National Park; and accepted the offer of € 2,500 voluntary contribution as “reasonable”. He said the contribution was an “atonement to society” .

Judge O’ Connor said he would impose conviction on each count; hunting and killing, and finalise the matter by way of further fines on November 19th next by which date the contributions were to be paid.