Residents mobilise to prevent swan deaths

by Gazette Reporter

Local residents in Portmarnock have made efforts in recent weeks to prevent any further deaths of swans along Golf Links Road.
In January, a swan was killed after flying into the high voltage electricity wires at Golf Links Road, Portmarnock, in the area between the two golf links courses. The incident was observed and reported by locals who stated that there were two swans flying at the time, but one died shortly after the collision.
Following the bird strike, concerned residents in Portmarnock held a consultation with the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) on how the flight path for swans could be made safer in the local area.
The meeting with the ESB was held by members of the community along with local representative, Councillor Peter Coyle (Lab), who said the overall outcome of the consultation was “very positive”.
“The groups of residents were confident that ESB Networks will implement a solution which should greatly improve the safety of flight paths for swans,” he said.
There had been previous incidents where swans were killed on the same electricity wires.
The occurrence of swan collisions with overhead power lines is a problem internationally and is well documented.
ESB Networks technician Jim McNally, who covers the Portmarnock area, met with Cllr Coyle and the group of local residents on site. He brought the newest version of game guards available for display and outlined a plan for their placement on the networks.
“This development meeting received a very positive reaction from the group of concerned residents, who are anxious that the area be made safe for the swans,” Cllr Coyle explained.
“Jim’s own expertise in wildlife, especially birds, put him in a well-placed position to assist us with the situation at Portmarnock,” Cllr Coyle continued.
“Over the years, he has worked on TV programmes with the late Dr Eamon De Buitlear relating to wildlife in Rogerstown Estuary in Rush. Over the years, he has also been called on to make presentations to student groups in UCD on wildlife.”
A spokesperson for ESB Networks confirmed to The Gazette that since the incident and the recent meeting held with residents, game guards have been put up in the area, with more due to be placed later this week.
“The ESB Networks will be reviewing the issue and also, permanently reviewing bird protectors,” the spokesperson said.
“This isn’t just a problem here, this is a national problem. Swans migrate every year so a lot of swan routes change, that’s why we’re constantly watching and monitoring that. Obviously, we don’t want to cause damage to swans or mortality or lines being brought down either so it’s a constant issue that ESB Networks are happy to look into and look after.”

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