herald

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Plague of the gulls

Brazen birds steal food from sunbathers in Howth

Fiona and Shane Corr from Swords under attack from the seagulls in Howth, Co.Dublin.
Photo: Justin Farrelly.
Fiona and Shane Corr from Swords under attack from the seagulls in Howth, Co.Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly.

Families enjoying the sun in a north Dublin seaside town are being terrorised by an invasion of thieving seagulls.

Children as young as three have been attacked in Howth, in what locals have said are scenes reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds.

Gemma Hogan and her eight-year-old daughter Jorjia, from Coolock, were eating their lunch of fish and chips on Thursday when they were picked on by a lone gull.

Sitting with her sister Ellie and her three young children, they soon became surrounded after one of them dropped a chip. In a matter of seconds, the birds swooped.

"I can't believe that just happened," said Ms Hogan trying to console her crying daughter.

"They're the size of small dogs and are everywhere. The 'Do not feed the birds' signs have no effect.

"Something needs to be done. We just wanted to enjoy our day out in peace without being attacked," she added.

Shortly after, another gang of gulls targeted Linda Corr, of Ratoath.

Ellie Comey (6) from Coolock under attack from the seagulls in Howth. Photo: Justin Farrelly.
Ellie Comey (6) from Coolock under attack from the seagulls in Howth. Photo: Justin Farrelly.

"They're as bold as anything. They were trying to take my fish right out of the box," she said.

"The only reason they're here is because people are feeding them. There wouldn't be a problem if everyone just binned their litter."

In 2014, Fianna Fail senator Ned O'Sullivan endured a week-long bout of mockery when he spoke openly about how gulls had "lost the run of themselves completely".

Cheeky

He claimed that the birds were "getting so cheeky" that they were attacking young children and "dispossessing them of their lollipops".

According to pest control experts, complaints regarding out-of-hand birds in Dublin have increased by 41pc during the heatwave.

Independent councillor Jimmy Guerin said seagulls in the Howth area are becoming a "major issue" for residents as more birds are flocking to the coast because of the heat.

Fingal County Council has launched a 'seagull survey' in Howth, Skerries and Balbriggan to establish the number of breeding gull nests in the area.

Freya Comey (3) from Coolock who was attacked by seagulls in Howth. Photo: Justin Farrelly.
Freya Comey (3) from Coolock who was attacked by seagulls in Howth. Photo: Justin Farrelly.

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