Judge refuses to ‘criminalise’ Strokestown man found guilty of shooting dear

A judge has stated that the state agency responsible for wildlife is not doing enough to kill sufficient numbers of deer, resulting in motorists facing the danger of deer landing on their car bonnets.

Judge Patrick Durcan made his comment at Killaloe District Court after a Co Roscommon man pleaded guilty to hunting deer without a licence near the east Clare village of Scarriff on January 21st last.

Forty-two-year-old father-of-three Brian Dolan, of Cloonslanor, Strokestown, admitted shooting a male fallow deer at Gortaderra, Scarriff, on January 21st last.

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Judge Durcan said on Tuesday that Mr Dolan is a decent man, had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and told the court that he was not going criminalise him over this and “he has done all the right things”.

Instead, Judge Durcan ordered that Mr Dolan pay €100 to the court discretionary fund or poor box and that would be the end of the matter.

A solicitor for Mr Dolan, James Nash, said that there is “an epidemic of deer” in east Clare and that his client was only 21 days outside the permitted season for shooting deer, which goes from September 1 to December 31.

Judge Durcan said that if the man had wasn’t three weeks late shooting the deer, he wouldn’t be guilty.

Giving details about the case, Inspector Tom Kennedy said that locals heard shots fired at Gortnaderra at Scarriff at around 10.30pm on Saturday, January 21st.

He said Garda Hilda Moloney stopped a jeep with four occupants and she was led to believe that they were shooting foxes but then she saw the remains of the deer in the back of the jeep.

Inspector Kennedy said that Mr Dolan admitted that he shot the deer and to his credit was extremely co-operative and Mr Dolan had a licence for his gun but no licence to shoot deer at that time of year.

Mr Nash explained: “It wasn’t their intention that night to shoot deer. They were out shooting foxes but a deer came across them. He is a shooting man.

“He fired and he got the deer.”

Inspector Kennedy agreed with Mr Nash that Mr Dolan ‘was absolutely forthright, gentlemanly and honourable on the night’.