People have been urged to leave dogs at home when hiking or hillwalking after a number of sheep have been attacked in upland areas.
There have been a number of incidents around Mount Brandon on the Dingle Peninsula which have prompted farmers to complain of dogs chasing sheep, resulting in injuries and stress-related conditions such as miscarriages.
Mountaineering Ireland, the national representative body for hillwalkers and mountaineers, said it supports the call from farmers in the Mount Brandon area of Co Kerry for walkers not to take dogs onto the hills. There have been similar reports in Co Sligo.
A spokesperson for Mountaineering Ireland appealed to all walkers and climbers to respect farm animals and wildlife by not taking dogs onto the hills.
“The presence of a dog on the hills, even one that’s on a lead, causes stress to sheep, and where dogs are off-lead sheep may be chased and injured. The failure of a minority of dog walkers to keep their dogs under control means that dogs are not welcome in most upland areas,” the spokesperson added.
Over the last two weeks Mountaineering Ireland has been liaising with IFA representatives, the Rural Recreation Officer in Kerry and local Mountaineering Ireland member, Councillor Séamus CosaíFitzgerald, providing advice to help address the issue.