In A scene reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, a hospital in Drogheda has had to spend almost €20,000 on specialist netting to protect its staff from flocks of angry birds.
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital bought the equipment last year to shield maintenance workers from feathered assailants in the vicinity of rooms containing vital equipment - located on the roof.
A total of €18,435 was spent on three specialist roof nets to protect staff from the threat of nuisance birds, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The hospital is situated close to Drogheda Port and around five miles from the Irish Sea.
The netting was required to protect staff from flocks of seagulls while carrying out maintenance work on ventilation systems and other machinery.
In addition, a pest control company was employed to remove a number of bird nests from the roof last year.
The cost of the specialist nets is part of a €35,152 spend on pest control by the hospital during the past five years.
"A decision was taken to purchase roof netting by Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in order to address bird activity and nesting in the vicinity of the hospital," said a spokesperson for the Health Service Executive. systems
"The roof netting has been put in place to provide safe access for maintenance staff to the hospital's plant rooms located on the hospital roof.
"The plant rooms house hospital systems such as the main ventilation systems for operating theatres and intensive care areas.
"The netting has proven successful in providing safe access to the staff to carry out their work in the plant rooms," added the spokesperson.
The three roof nets cost over €6,000 each. However, the hospital is examining additional methods of bird control to protect staffs.
A proposal to install an ultrasonic bird repellent is currently being considered by management.
Earlier this year Fianna Fail Ned O'Sullivan took to the Seanad floor to claim that "cheeky" seagulls have attacked children and kept Dublin residents awake at night.
Demanding Government action on the matter Mr O'Sullivan said that the birds had "lost the run of themselves" and had become a threat to public safety.