A CLAIM by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage that it was misleading for people to suggest that newly married couples are not being permitted to take photographs in Killarney National Park has been vehemently disputed by the Mayor of Killarney.
In a written communication to Killarney Municipal District Council, department principal officer, Trevor Donnelly, said there had been “absolutely no change in policy” as it has been the case for quite some time that all commercial events, including professional wedding photography, are subject to a permit system.
He said a permit is required for insurance and indemnification purposes and it is incumbent on photographers to apply for a current permit which is readily and quickly available.
“It is a very simple process for the professional photographer to complete and permits apply for the year. The staff of the department will always accommodate photographers and work with them to ensure safety for all at the national park,” Mr Donnelly wrote.
He added that there was “absolutely no substance to recent misleading claims” that newly-weds were not permitted to take photographs or were asked to leave the park.
However, at a meeting of the municipal district council this Wednesday, the department official’s remarks were challenged by Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Marie Moloney, who said she is aware of one case where a professional photographer – with a full permit – was stopped taking photographs by a park ranger in front of Muckross House.
She said when he asked why, he was told it was for privacy reasons.
“When he pressed the matter further, he was told that’s just the way it is,” she claimed.
Mayor Moloney said the wedding party in attendance that day included three best men, three bridesmaids and the bride and groom and they were very surprised by what happened.
“The NPWS seem to be a law onto themselves,” she said.
The letter from park management, discussed at today’s council meeting, was in response to Cllr Moloney previously raising the issue in November when she described the insistence that wedding photographers must obtain permits in advance of photographing brides and grooms as scandalous.
She had asked council officials to immediately contact the NPWS to “convey disappointment and disbelief” and the mayor said on her own wedding day, 41 years ago, she and her husband were photographed in the park at Muckross and people have been doing it for generations.
“This is not acceptable – the park belongs to the people,” Cllr Moloney insisted.
The mayor said it’s was very strange that she can go into the park and take a picture of a wedding couple on her iphone but professional wedding photographers need a permit to be able to do so.
“People can go into the park to take pictures of deer with no problems at all but the minute they see a bride it’s a different story,” she said.