A 70-year-old pensioner is in a flutter after she was fined €150 for feeding birds in a field outside her home.
Breda Moynihan, 70, who lives in the Lee Estate in Co Limerick, said she takes great joy in feeding the seagulls which regularly congregate on a green near her house.
However, she has been left "devastated" and "disgusted" after a Limerick council worker handed her a €150 fine when he witnessed her throwing breadcrumbs to her feathered friends.
The animal lover, who also gives carrots to horses in the estate and biscuits to cats, says she cannot afford the fine, which was made under the Litter Pollution Act 1997.
She was given a form filled in by a council official which accused her of "food thrown on a green area".
However, the grandmother who lives alone, is standing her ground and insists that she won't pay the fine.
"I feed the birds every day," she said.
"I love animals, and just feel like I'm doing good. But this council man approached me recently saying I'm causing rats.
"But rats have been around here all the time. The birds eat up the bread immediately after I throw it so I can't be the one to blame.
"I just feel devastated and disgusted at how they could find someone for simply feeding a few animals."
Ms Moynihan added that while she's a shy person by nature, she refuses to stay silent on what she deems to be a "huge injustice".
"I just can't afford to pay the €150. It's a huge amount of money for me and I'm so worried about the thought of having to pay it.
"I just hope the council will pardon me because I haven't done anything wrong. I'm going to fight this and stand my ground," she said.
The pensioner is being supported by former councillor John Gilligan, who said the fine is "scandalous", especially given the illegal dumping which is taking place across the estate.
He added that instead of fining her, council should give her a mayoral reception.
"They're for the birds," he said.
"Down through the years, we've been highlighting acts of unspeakable cruelty towards animals in Limerick. Here's a woman whose the total opposite of that. She's our own Mary Poppins. And they come down and charge her €150. That's her entire pension gone."
He said he will contact council boss Kieran Lehane urging him to see sense.
"You know these rules weren't meant for people like her. She should be applauded, not persecuted. For God's sake, do the right thing for Limerick and our estate, leave this lady alone.
"Breda feeds the seagulls, that bread is gone in seconds. She's not dumping stews, or anything like that," he said.
Labour councillor Conor Sheehan, who represents the area at City Hall, said: "I just think it's an absolutely completely over-the-top draconian response by the council.
"I live in an area where people frequently dump bags of rubbish. I haven't seen any of them landed with a fine. It's totally cruel.
"Whoever issued this fine would want to pull their head out of their backside and realise they can't do this to elderly and vulnerable people. It's a disproportionate response."
Limerick City Council have been contacted for comment.