gullduggery: Balbriggan’s bad birds

FEARLESS seagulls are attacking children and older people in Balbriggan as they fight for scraps of food, it’s been claimed.
There were calls in the Seanad last week for lasers to be used to deter the aggressive birds from nesting and scavenging in urban areas.
Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee (FF) said: “They are dangerous, dirty, and it’s impossible to get a night’s sleep for several months each summer as they nest and rear their young.
“They have a tendency to attack, and reports locally suggest that they viciously attack for scraps. This is potentially quite dangerous for children.”
Concerns over the rising seagull population in Balbriggan have been mounting since the nearby dump in Lusk closed.
Cllr Malachy Quinn (SF) told The Gazette: “Without a shadow of a doubt, something has to be done.”
Cllr Quinn said the gulls – a protected species under an EU directive – posed a threat and in some instances school children were kept indoors during break-time rather than playing in the yard.
He said: “Their habitats have changed since the closure of the dump in Lusk, which means they have to go and scavenge elsewhere for food.
“They’re causing terrible damage. Some of the children in the schools can’t even go out and play at times because of them.”
Earlier this year, students from Loreto Secondary School in Balbriggan put together a study on ‘lunch stealing gulls’ as an entry for the Young Scientists’ Competition.
Enya Anderson, Cleo Gallen and Kirsty Burns devised an alarm system to tackle pesky gulls who prey on unsuspecting students and swipe their sandwiches.
They found 39 % of students reported having their lunch stolen, while 82% found the winged scav-engers “annoying or intimidating”.
Culling is prohibited under EU regulations and Senator Clifford Lee is not in favour of such extreme measures – but she is demanding action.
She told the Seanad: “Many look on this problem as a bit of a joke, but it’s far from a joke for those living with the problems posed by aggressive seagulls.
“In the UK, scientists have been studying the use of lasers in deterring gulls from nesting in urban areas. I hope similar options will be explored to deal with the problem in north Dublin. A strategy is needed.”


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