herald

Monday 21 August 2017

FF's Lee wants lasers used in war on 'aggressive' seagulls

FF’s Lorraine Clifford-Lee
FF’s Lorraine Clifford-Lee

A Fianna Fail politician has proposed the use of lasers to tackle "aggressive seagulls" in North County Dublin.

Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee claimed yesterday that such technology has been proved effective in other jurisdictions in order to deter the birds from nesting in urban areas.

She told the Seanad that children and older people have been attacked by seagulls in some of Dublin's coastal towns, such as Portmarnock. "It's reached crisis level," she said.

Ms Clifford-Lee is one of a number of politicians to have raised the issue of seagulls in recent years.

Her Seanad colleague Ned O'Sullivan previously generated headlines after telling the Upper House the seagulls have "lost the run of themselves".

Ms Clifford-Lee, whose electoral base is in Portmarnock and surrounding areas, said she believes a cull is required.

She said scientists in the UK have examined the use of lasers to tackle the issue and that a similar approach should be considered here.

"The lasers are harmless screening devices and are not designed to injured the birds," said Ms Clifford Lee.

Cliffs

She cited the fall in fish supplies as a factor in seagulls nesting in towns rather than on cliffs.

Balbriggan, which has a population of around 26,000, has seen the problem become worse in recent years, according to the senator.

"A strategy is needed," she said, adding that she has raised the issue with Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys.

In her response to Ms Clifford-Lee, seen by the Herald, Ms Humphreys confirmed that she has received reports that seagulls have caused problems in various housing estates in Balbriggan.

"It is claimed that the seagulls, because of their number and habits, are giving rise to public health and safety concerns in the area," she said.

Ms Humphreys went on to say that it has been reported that some parents do not let their children outdoors during the summer due to instances of attacks.

Schools, businesses and residents' associations have also been in touch with the department.

Ms Humphreys said a review of the Wild Bird Declaration will take place next year, which could lead to new measures.

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