Seagulls 'causing huge problems' in north Dublin, senator warns

The birds have once again become a talking point in the Seanad...

Seagulls 'causing huge problems' in north Dublin, senator warns

File photo. Picture by: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images

The spring weather is only just beginning, but ahead of the summer concerns are already being raised about the recurring problem of seagulls in Dublin.

Over the last few years, the issue has been raised in the Seanad on several occasions - with Fianna Fáil's Ned O'Sullivan even gaining widespread media attention after claiming seagulls in the city centre had 'lost the run of themselves'.

As the better weather approaches, the seagull concerns are being raised yet again - and this time Balbriggan is in the spotlight.

Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has highlighted the issue with the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Senator Clifford-Lee spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about the scale of the problem in the north Dublin town.

"A lot of people over the past number of months have raised the issue with me," she explained. "It's a very difficult problem there - there's a large urban population on the coast, and the birds have actually moved inland over recent years when fish supplies have diminished.

"There used to be a dump nearby, and that there was their unnatural feeding ground. That closed back in 2012, and now they have come into the town and they are causing huge problems."

She explained that she heard from one man whose grandson was 'badly injured' in a seagull attack in his own back garden.

"I think other vulnerable people, such as elderly people as well, have been attacked," she said. "I've some very real examples of those. People have brought it up with me on the doors there. They've contacted my office."

Senator Clifford-Lee suggested there's a number of methods that could be used to address the problem.

"I know scientists in the UK have been studying the use of lasers as kind of a scaring mechanism to dislodge [seagulls] from unnatural breeding grounds," she observed.

"Yesterday the Minister was saying he was going to look at the wild bird declaration and perhaps have seagulls included in that.

"It allows for the capturing and killing of some listed bird species to prevent serious damage to livestock and crops, and for public health reasons."

She added she really believes that "seagulls do pose a public health risk", although stressed she wasn't personally in favour of culling.