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Safety fears prompt call for ‘gull cull’

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SEAGULLS displaying aggressive behaviour in Tenby have prompted calls for a “gull cull” – amid fears for public safety.
Councillors in Tenby say herring gulls in the town are attacking builders on rooftops and families on beaches.
The town’s Mayor Sue Lane requested that the local authority be approached to see if there was a way of controlling the belligerent birds.
“It’s a dangerous issue health wise and it’s getting out of control,” she said. “So I feel the time has come to get in touch with the county council, to see what control methods can be brought in.
“They were once just sea birds, but now they’re fast becoming land birds and need controlling.”
Businesspeople in the town say incidents of food snatching have become more common as the birds become over-familiar with humans.
Mario Fecci, of Fecci’s Ice Cream Parlour, said the gulls had become skilful opportunist who were now an increasing nuisance.
“We’ve had customers who have bought cream cakes or ice cream and had them snatched right out of their hands.
“There is most definitely a problem with gulls here in Tenby, where it seems they are nesting.
“It’s not just a problem for holidaymakers. Living in the town ourselves, we are quite often woken up around 4am with very loud squawking.
“They have become quite aggressive. You see them walking up to people on the parade and not thinking anything of snatching chips out of their hands.
“They are not scared of people any more. But we all have a responsibility not to feed them. The seagulls are opportunists who are finding it much easier to survive off fish and chips on land instead of finding food at sea, where they should be.”
Builder Andrew Thomas said there had been incidents of dive-bombing.
“If you’re near their territory, and there are chicks in the nest, they can get quite aggressive.
“One of our boys just got out of the van to use the cashpoint, and a gull swooped down at him. He raised his arms and it flew off but you can see how people with young kids would be scared.”
Andrew Davies, Tenby Town Council’s clerk, said the town’s Civic Society had written to Pembrokeshire Council to request seagull-proof bin bags.
“These are bags to put domestic rubbish in that can’t get torn open by gulls. Apparently there have been pilots in the West Country.
“Although the town council and county council encourage residents to cover their rubbish, not everybody does and the gulls are very intelligent birds. They are getting to realise that they can get underneath the covers.”
The RSPB’s Grahame Madge “Gulls are very intelligent and live on their wits.
“They will capitalise on any way they can find food and will try to seize ice creams and fish and chips from people at places like Barry Island, or in cities like Cardiff.”
A spokesman for Pembrokeshire Council said any work to reduce seagull numbers was too late this year.
“We have advised Tenby Town Council that it is now too late in the year to commence a programme of gull control, if that is what they wish to do.
“Any such action would need to commence in January or February.We have also pointed out that any such control work is expensive and no appropriate budget currently exists within the County Council.”

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Crabb backs veterans of Irish Troubles

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VETERANS of the Northern Irish Troubles have been backed by Preseli MP Stephen Crabb during votes in the House of Commons.

In the absence of a functioning administration in Northern Ireland, Members of Parliament have been voting in an effort to keep Northern Ireland running.

Stephen Crabb co-sponsored an amendment put forward by Johnny Mercer MP which passed. The Secretary of State must now report on the options available to allow veterans of the Troubles to assist in a truth recovery process, for the benefit of bereaved families, without fear of prosecution.

Commenting following the vote, Stephen Crabb MP said: “This is a positive step towards ensuring the hounding of veterans is stopped. The proud, local veteran community, along with myself, have been deeply troubled by the ongoing pursuit of current and former British Soldiers for actions carried out while under orders on active service.

“I have made the point previously to Ministers that we risk a serious breach of trust with our Armed Forces by opening the door to such prosecutions. The pressures placed on a solder in conflict situations are enormous and it cannot be right that actions carried out in these circumstances are re-opened decades later by people with no understanding of what happened on the ground.“

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Identical ‘call-out’ within three days for Fishguard RNLI lifeboat

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FISHGUARD RNLI inshore lifeboat launched on Thursday evening 18 July to the very same inflatable dinghy they rescued on Monday July 15

The inshore lifeboat and three volunteer crew launched at 8.45pm after the inflatable was reported drifting out to sea from Fishguard harbour. The flimsy inflatable and the young men onboard were taken under tow back to the area of Goodwick beach and they were again spoken to regarding the dangers of inflatable craft. On this occasion there was an off-shore wind and an ebbing tide which potentially presented much more dangerous conditions for the persons onboard.

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Rosslare ready to go it alone

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THE UK Government stands ready to revoke legislation governing the relationship between the ports of Fishguard and Rosslare.

The abolition of the current arrangements is a step closer according to Irish newspaper reports of a recent meeting between Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson Robert Troy and Wexford TD James Browne.

According to the reports, Mr Grayling told the Irish politicians that the UK has ‘no strategic or economic’ interest in keeping the ports’ governance structure.

The Irish Government, meanwhile, regards Rosslare as a major part of its Brexit plans and has acquired further land to provide additional facilities there.

The ports are governed by a UK Act of Parliament from 1888, which created the Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company.

The Act continued to govern the relationship between the Ports, even after most of Ireland secured its independence from the – then – British empire.

However, the old legislation has – in the view of Irish TD James Browne – hindered the Irish Government’s ability to expand activities at Rosslare to the benefit of the local and Irish economies.

Stena Line: Looking at the long term development of both ports

Fishguard and Rosslare ports are part of the one company, namely the Fishguard and Rosslare Railway and Harbours Company set up by an Act of Parliament.

Mr Browne explained to The Herald: “In effect, ownership of the port lies with UK government. But in turn the ports are effectively run as private companies: Irish Rail control and operate the Rosslare end and Stena control and operate the Fishguard side and there is an agreement in place as to the division of profits of the company.

“In Ireland, this complex and archaic ownership model has regularly been cited as an inhibiting factor in the development of the port. In short, no one will invest in a port whose ownership is unclear.”
The opportunity is not, however, all on one side, says the Wexford TD: “The decoupling of the two ports, and the transfer of Rosslare to Irish state ownership would free up both ports from this complex ownership model and allow investment in the ports.”

Mr Browne also highlighted the potential for growth in economic activity in West Wales’ closest trading neighbour: “Dublin Port is so busy that it is turning away business. Rosslare Port is in an ideal geographical location to attract shipping business and to take the pressure off of Dublin. Port. It, in turn, would act as an economic driver for the entire South East of Ireland.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb told us: Stephen: “The importance of the Fishguard – Rosslare ferry connection is unquestionable with 80% of all goods from Ireland passing through Welsh ports.
“However, the historic legal framework for the ports is outdated and does not give either side the freedom they need to develop and innovate. I can well understand why change is being sought at this time.

“I have met with the management on both sides of the Irish Sea to discuss Brexit planning and other aspects of the industry and will continue to do so.”

Ian Hampton, Chief People and Communications Officer, Stena Line said: “Stena Line hopes that by removing the historical legislation that governs the status of The Fishguard Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company it will enable Stena Line and the Irish Government to work closer together creating greater opportunity, such as the options for the long term development of both the respective ports.”

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