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ready to swoop

So they've been talking about seagulls in the Seanad again

They’re tearing refuse bags to pieces and don’t seem to understand bedtime, a FG senator complained.


It’s one of the signs of the Irish summer, at this stage – like stories about Bruce Springsteen trying to go for a quiet pint, or pictures of David Norris wearing a silly hat.

Rising to address the upper chamber this afternoon, Senator Paul Coghlan of Fine Gael said he felt compelled to raise the “havoc” caused by the sea birds, after witnessing them in action last evening.

Last night as I left this house, opposite the corner of Molesworth Street and Frederick Street, and again separately at the corner of the Green and the top of Dawson Street, as I left… I witnessed something, in both instances, where these gulls, who seem to have a voracious appetite and can wreak havoc with their beaks…

After some light heckling from across the chamber, he opined:

You know, unlike other birds they don’t seem to understand bedtime. This was late at night. / YouTube

Finally, arriving at the point he set out to make, Coghlan said the gulls were pecking holes in plastic refuse bags – and that businesspeople should be given advice on how to deal with the problem.

“These birds with their beaks have been destroying these… And I witnessed it in both these locations last evening.

They’d hardly move out of your way. They’re perched on ledges ready to swoop – and then you have litter strewn all over the place.

“This is terrible in our capital city,” he went on – suggesting “some repulsive spray” could be used to keep the winged pests away.

Senators versus seagulls 

Senator Ned O’Sullivan of Fianna Fáil kick-started the Seanad’s ongoing crusade against seagulls in 2014, you may recall, remarking that they had “lost the run of themselves completely” and claiming that they were dispossessing children of their lollipops.

Last year (almost to the day) Senator Dennis O’Donovan, also of Fianna Fáil, said the birds were behaving like cows “with mad cow disease”.

ned Senator Ned O'Sullivan

A member of Birdwatch Ireland explained to us in the wake of O’Sullivan’s initial comments that overall numbers of herring gulls are in fact down in Ireland – but said that the birds were more noticeable around this time of year as it’s nesting season.

Around Dublin Bay, in particular, they’re making the move inland to breed because many of the islands they would typically use are infested with egg-eating rats.

According to the National Parks and Wildlife Service the reduction in population over the last 20 years is partly as a result of better management of municipal dumps, where the gulls would once have gathered in large numbers to feed.

They remain a protected species.

Read: Waterford is under attack – from a laughing seagull >

Read: A senator wants something done about ‘raucous seagulls stealing children’s lollipops’ >

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