pigeons-istock_650x400_51448962427Earlier this week Senator Denis O’Donovan became the second Fianna Fail senator to raise the issue of tackling the “vicious seabird”.

Speaking in the Seanad he said that seagulls were “invading the towns and the villages.”

“Seagulls have actually killed lambs and they’ve killed rabbits and I think it is coming to the stage where they are actually endangering society,” Mr O’Donovan said.

He added that “maybe we should look at a cull on this vicious seabird.”

However, animal rights organisation Aran has said that killing the animals won’t keep them away from urban areas.

“Calling for an all-out assault on seagulls is completely irresponsible, cruel and short-sighted,” Aran said in a statement.

The group highlighted that nothing has been done to tackle the real problem of people and businesses leaving out rubbish which “lures the birds in.”

The statement continues: “We are destroying their ecosystem and taking their food from the seas to feed ourselves and the gulls are only doing what is necessary to them by coming inland to try and get food.

“Maybe we, as in society, should take a step back from sucking our seas dry of marine life and letting the fish to the birds and laying off.

“Maybe laying off Senator O’Donovan might not be a bad thing either.”

Speaking to UTV Ireland Senator O’Donovan said some of his comments in the Seanad have been misconstrued.

“I haven’t called for the army to come in. I don’t agree with killing seagulls but a cull can be done in a different way.”

“Their [Aran] response by attacking me is not the response I have been getting from the public,” he added.

He said he had asked for a debate on the issue in the Seanad, and unless a solution can be put forward “people will take the law into their own hands” by poisioning and shooting the animals.

Asked if he would accept Aran’s offer to help draft a humane plan, he said: “I’m willing to meet with them once they acknowledge there is a problem.”

Last year Senator Ned O’Sullivan told the Seanad seagulls had “lost the run of themselves” – and were taking lollipops from young children.

Mr O’Sullivan said while the topic might seem funny to some it was a serious issue in Dublin.

Speaking to UTV Ireland, an expert from Rentokill explained that seagulls are actually protected under animal protection laws.

He admitted the company do receive callouts regarding the marine bird, but rather than killing them there are non-deadly methods like nest removal, netting, bird repellent gels and larus gull wires.

The stainless steel spring wires are apparently effective in preventing birds from roosting on exposed ledges and rooftops.

Nest removal, meanwhile, requires permission under Section 22 of the Wildlife Act.

Removing the habitat without sanction is an offence and breaks wildlife conservation legislation.

“There are very high populations [of seagulls]. Climate and behaviour wise these birds are becoming more established.”

“But from that point of view we are encroaching, we provide food,” he said.

Regarding any cull of the bird, he added that “the last you want to do is to kill, and you have to look at other methods first.”

He said the best course of action would be for an environmental assessment to be carried out, to see how bird populations could be reduced.


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