An 81-year-old bird lover is ruffling the feathers of local traders in Cork city with his regular feeding of pigeons in the city centre.
Cork City Council has now asked pensioner Frankie Flaherty to consider moving to a nearby park to feed the birds.
Known affectionately as the 'Birdman of Daunt Square', the Gurranabraher man is adamant that he is not going to move from the square despite complaints from some traders that the pigeons are vermin and causing damage to local buildings.
Mr Flaherty has been feeding the birds at least four times a week for the past four years with corn he gets from a local supplier on North Main Street.
He says he loves feeding the pigeons who flock to him sometimes in their hundreds. He often invites others to feed the birds with him and is regularly photographed by tourists and locals alike.
"I love doing it. I think they are a beautiful bird and it is lovely to see them flying around the city. They have been for generations."
However, Cork City Council has received several complaints from local traders around littering and nuisance issues to themselves and the public.
Among those who have made a complaint to the City Manager is Donal Mannix, a well known Castle Street trader. He says he is not alone as other traders are unhappy too with Mr Flaherty's regular birdfeeding.
"My objection is that we are feeding vermin on wings and they are breaking into people's houses, and taking the slates off the roofs and the whole lot at enormous cost," Mr Mannix said.
He wants the city council "to patrol the streets properly and ensure that these vermin are not fed".
Known affectionately as the 'Birdman of Daunt Square' @corkcitycouncil have asked 81 year old Frankie Flaherty to consider moving to a nearby park to feed the pigeons following complaints. But Frankie says he’s not budging. More @rtenews at 9pm pic.twitter.com/LuWMUR46ke— JennïeØSullivân (@OSullivanJennie) September 14, 2021
In an effort to resolve these issues, a Cork City Council staff member recently asked Mr Flaherty if he would consider feeding the birds at a nearby park because of the complaints.
But Mr Flaherty said no. Speaking this afternoon, the pensioner said he was going to keep feeding the birds on the busy square.
"And if I go up to court I will tell the judge that they are all wildlife and I won't pay, and they can lock me up if they want to."
In a statement, Cork City Council said that "a gentleman who likes to feed the birds in the area was asked by a member of Cork City Council staff if he would consider feeding the birds in another site, eg Bishop Lucey Park, because of the complaints. He was not told he would be fined and Cork City Council will not be issuing a litter fine to this gentleman."