I propose to take Questions Nos. 266 to 274, inclusive, 278, 279, 283, 285, 290 and 291 together.
As answered in previous Questions on this issue, my officials are continuing to work on assessing the recommendations of the first interim report of the Consultative Committee on urban gulls, which undertook a review of the issues relating to the impact of gulls in urban areas. My officials have begun the process of engaging with a number of bodies in order to move the recommendations forward.
Further to this, my Department undertook a National Gull Survey in 2021, the results of which will also inform ongoing work with stakeholders and communities to address concerns or conflict issues.
In terms of schools, Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts allows applications to be made to apply for a licence to remove nests and eggs from buildings, on a case by case basis, where serious damage has occurred. A licence may also be applied for under Section 22(9)(d) to take the nests or eggs of protected wild birds for other purposes. Applications are investigated by local staff and recommendations made on the most practical method of stopping or controlling the problem. As the Deputy will also be aware, a pilot derogation declaration is in place for a specified area in relation to the taking of nests and eggs, and my Department is considering the implications of extending same.
My Department is reviewing the Wild Birds Declaration wording in particular around the legal aspects of its implementation.