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Dublin: 9°C Monday 29 November 2021

This photo of a man grabbing a swan by the neck was taken in Phoenix Park yesterday

A spokesperson for Birdwatch Ireland said that “this behaviour is absolutely abhorrent”.

A PICTURE SHOWING a man grabbing a swan by the neck was the subject of conversation on RTÉ’s Liveline with Joe Duffy today.

Brenda Malloy sent the picture into the show, which she’d taken yesterday at the duck pond in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. She said she witnessed the man get into an “altercation with the swan”.

Also speaking to Duffy, Birdwatch Ireland’s Niall Hatch called the image “disturbing” and “abhorrent”.


The caller detailed how she witnessed the turn of events, at the duck pond near the zoo in the Phoenix Park yesterday.

The man had been walking along pushing a buggy, she said, but was unsure as to how it all started. At some point, he became embroiled “in an altercation” with the swan:

So he was waving his arms in the air, and the swan was pecking at his shoes… He grabbed the swan by the neck and he pulled. It looked to me like he was pulling pretty hard.

She said that he shouted at him to stop but he didn’t hear her. The baby in the buggy was at about eye level with the swan, Malloy added.

She said that she’d sent in the photo to warn others not to harm wildlife in such a manner:

Well I just think that people should understand that we’re lucky to have the Phoenix Park there, the swans there and the deers there. People should be respectful of wildlife.

No excuse for cruelty

Birdwatch Ireland’s Niall Hatch told the show that the photographs were “very disturbing”.

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“It looks like he’s trying to pull the swan out of the water,” he said.

Hatch said that it is currently nesting season, where swans incubate their eggs, and that they can be very territorial at this time of year in particular. “They will hold their ground,” he said.

He pointed out that it was illegal to harm a wild bird, and that there were provisions in place to prosecute those who do.

“There’s never any excuse for cruel treatment,” Hatch said. “This behaviour is absolutely abhorrent.”

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Sean Murray

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