Tuesday 20 March 2018

Aggressive gulls ruffle Cameron's feathers after dog and tortoise killed

A seagull scavenging for food in St Stephen’s Green yesterday
A seagull scavenging for food in St Stephen’s Green yesterday
British PM David Cameron
Adam Cullen

Adam Cullen

It has been just over a year since a Fianna Fáil senator grabbed national and international headlines for accusing seagulls of losing "the run of themselves".

But now our feathered friends are causing a flap again and have even drawn one of the world's most powerful leaders into the discussion about their aggressive antics.

Almost a year to the day that Kerry's Ned O'Sullivan caused a squawk in the Seanad over the pesky birds, David Cameron has now stepped in to ruffle some feathers.

Speaking on BBC Radio Cornwall, the UK Prime Minister said it was a "difficult subject" that demanded action in the wake of two attacks that left a tortoise and terrier dog dead.

"This is a very difficult subject, and I think it is a dangerous one for a prime minister to dive in and come up with an instant answer," said Mr Cameron.

"I think a big conversation needs to happen about this," he added.

"Reading the papers this morning about how aggressive the seagulls now are - we do have a problem."

Last summer Mr O'Sullivan expressed a similar sentiment on the birds when he called on Environment Minister Alan Kelly to tackle the problem.

"I think something needs to be done to address the seagull problem in Dublin," he said during the Order of Business in the Seanad.

He also called on his personal experience of living in the capital where he said he found it "impossible" to get a night's sleep because of the "raucous" seagulls.

"I saw that they're getting so cheeky now that they attack young children and dispossess them of their lollipops and stuff like that. They are becoming increasingly more aggressive," he said at the time.

Mr O'Sullivan refused to comment on the situation last night. It is believed he has become bitter over the subject after receiving ridicule in national and international media.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio earlier this year, he said he felt "vindicated" after news emerged that the Department of Health had issued a tender for a professional pest control company to rid its Hawkins House headquarters of seagulls.

"Maybe some of the smart-alec media comments that were made all over the summer... maybe some of those guys might re-look at what they wrote now," the senator said at the time. He has not spoken on the issue since.

Irish Independent

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