Madam -- I read with interest Joe Kennedy's article (Sunday Independent, April 29, 2012) in which he expressed doubts about the hostilities between swallows and sparrows.
Since my house was built in 1958 I have welcomed housemartins to their homes under the eaves. About 10 years ago, sparrows moved into the nests as soon as the martins appeared. Three years ago, when the young martins hatched, a sparrow crushed into one nest on top of them. I watched as the parent martins returned only to have their brood's food stolen out of their mouths. The same behaviour was repeated daily. I make no apology for telling you I eventually shot the sparrow.
Swallows normally nest inside the shed and are not subject to the same harassment as their outdoor cousins.