Under the terms of the EU Birds Directive, all EU member states, including Ireland, are obliged to take measures to protect wild birds and their habitats.

However, the directive does allow member states to make derogations from its protective measures where certain wild bird species are causing damage.

According to the National Parks and Wildlife Services’ (NPWS) website, derogations can be applied in situations where wild birds are causing damage to crops, livestock or fauna.

Otherwise, exemptions can be made where wild birds represent a threat to public health or safety, or to air safety.

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, has recently signed a state-wide declaration for the 12-month period from May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020.

A separate countrywide declaration was signed in respect of air safety.

Some of the key features of these declarations are as follows:
  • The seagull species eligible on the state-wide declaration are confined to a particular area in North Dublin;
  • Different control methods that are allowed for different bird species in different situations;
  • The use of non-meat based poison or anesthetic bait to control certain species of pigeon is only allowed under permit from the NPWS;
  • This permit must be applied for in advance of control action occurring;
  • The use of cage traps is allowed as a control method for certain species.

Meanwhile, it has also been highlighted that any traps used must comply with the relevant traps and snares regulations (Wildlife Act 1976 (Approved Traps, Snares and Nets) Regulations 2003, and Section 35(5) of the Wildlife Act).

Further details on control of wild bird species are attached below: