Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (775)

Clare Daly

Question:

775. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the damage being caused in respect of the eight licences granted by her Department to Dublin City Council to scare seagulls off the treated public water reservoirs at Stillorgan and Ballyboden, each of which cited the serious damage criterion of the section 42 provisions in the Wildlife Act 1976; the characteristics of the damage such that it was claimed to be serious by the applicant and accepted as being serious by her Department; and if the interests of public health and safety as catered for in the EU birds directive was a determining factor in the granting of the licences. [26155/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

There are provisions under the Wildlife Acts allowing for the control of bird species in certain circumstances. There is a facility under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts whereby organisations and individuals may apply to my Department for permits, on a case by case basis, to prevent serious damage caused by individual protected animals and birds on specific lands. Permissions are only issued where there is evidence of such damage.

Dublin City Council were granted a number of Section 42 permits since 2014 to control seagulls at the Stillorgan reservoir and the Ballyboden water treatment plant. The permits were granted on the basis that, given that both reservoirs were open to the elements, the seagulls were fouling the reservoirs' waters in both facilities and this was considered a serious issue of damage. The control method involved in all cases was the use of falcons to scare seagulls and the culling of seagulls was not permitted.

It is my Department's understanding that the reservoir at Ballyboden is now roofed in and consequently the scaring of seagulls is not necessary.