Seagulls have become a "scourge" in Galway and frequently attack people eating outdoors, a local councillor has said.
While complaints about seagulls have become an annual occurrence, this year has seen particular concern right across the country.
It has even led to debates about whether a seagull cull should be allowed, although such culls are currently illegal under Irish law.
Labour Galway City Councillor and former Galway mayor Niall McNelis says Galway - much like Dublin - has had a significant problem this year.
He told The Pat Kenny Show: “I spoke to one retailer at the weekend - they’ve had to spend around €10,000 on the roof of their premises due to the amount of damage done by the nests.
“Hotels have had to do refunds due to the sound of the gulls in the morning. We've encouraged people to eat outdoors... we now have diners being regularly attacked by these seagulls.
“In Eyre Square… the seagulls have now set up base, and it’s regularly you’ll see someone’s lunch being taken away or a mobile phone or even a purse.
“We can’t do anything about it, because there are no clear guidelines on how we can actually tackle this scourge of birds that have set up in the city centre.”
Cllr McNelis acknowledged that the influx of seagulls into urban areas it is a result of overfishing and human damage to natural habitats.
However, he believes Galway should be given a "derogation" to allow officials to remove seagull eggs and nests from rooftops.
"They’ve moved from their natural habitat"
Galway-based Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly, meanwhile, says there has actually been a decrease in seagull populations over the years.
She explained: “It does feel like there’s an increase, but what it really is is they’ve moved from their natural habitat into the city.
“If we’ve developed environments in which they can get ready access to food, that’s where they’re going to go.
“They would prefer to be in their natural habitat, but they have been destroyed over time. It’s about getting that back now."
She said legislation around creating marine protected areas is on the way, which should help.
However, she suggested there are also other issues to look at - including around the amount of food waste created in Ireland, and how we dispose of it.
She also noted this is a "particularly noisy" period for seagull activity, noting: “Seagulls are noisy in July and August because of their nests - they’re trying to keep their children away from danger."
She also argued that removing the seagulls would also lead to more rats or foxes, so it's "not a simple question of putting down poison".