Local Fianna Fáil Senator, Lorraine Clifford-Lee has said the ongoing problem of seagulls is becoming increasingly dangerous and all options must be examined to deal with the rise in number, particularly in the North Dublin area of Balbriggan.

The situation has escalated in recent years as the landfill in Balleally ceased operation as the gulls that used the dump to source food have been forced to scavenge food for other nearby urban coastal areas including homes and parks.

Speaking in the Seanad on the matter earlier this morning, Senator Clifford-Lee said, “Many across media and politics look on this problem as a bit of a joke but it is far from a joke for those living with the problems posed with the increase in aggressive seagulls.

“They are dangerous, dirty and it’s impossible to get a night’s sleep for several months each summer as they nest and rear their young. They have a tendency to attack and reports from members of the public locally suggest that they viciously attack for scraps. This is potentially quite dangerous for children.

“While this is primarily a local problem, it continues to affect our city centre and has even become a European wide issue. Scottish authorities have carried out a comprehensive review of seagull control measures that were practical, financial and ethical viable.

“The Scottish Environmental Health Service has recommended biological control, education of the public to deter feeding and secure bins for food waste. Elsewhere in the UK, scientists have been studying the use of lasers in deterring gulls from nesting in urban areas; however, the effectiveness remains to be determined. I hope that similar options will be examined and explored to deal with the problem in North Dublin.

“There is no strategy or consequent control measure to fully eradicate the gull problem but a targeted and long term commitment to the control of seagulls in coastal urban areas is required to reduce this increasing problem,” concluded Senator Clifford-Lee.