Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 11:35 UK

Park bans horse carts in dung row

Killarney National Park
Jarveys take 1m visitors through the park every year

Jaunting car drivers have been banned from taking their horse carts into an Irish national park after refusing to fit them with dung-catching devices.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has said the soiling of pathways in Killarney National Park by the drivers' horses was unacceptable.

They have offered to pay for the dung-catching devices, but drivers, known as jarveys, claim they are dangerous.

Forty five jarveys have licences to operate 66 jaunting cars in the park.

They offer tours of Muckross, Torc and Ross Island on 15km of internal roads and paths to almost 1m people who visit the County Kerry park every year.

But the soiling of those roads and pathways by the jarveys' horses has consistently been a contentious issue and the NPWS has said it is no longer acceptable.

Dung bag on horse cart
Drivers claim the dung collecting bags are dangerous

After 18 months of consultations and negotiations, the NPWS closed the jaunting car entrances to the park at 6am this morning.

The parks service says the decision was taken as none of the jaunting cars hold a valid permit which requires the use of dung catchers to operate within the park.

They say jarveys will be banned until they sign up to using the dung-catching devices.

Killarney National Park remains open to the public.

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