Feed the seals, face a €5,000 fine


Madam, – For more than a decade, one of the most popular visitor attractions at Howth harbour has been the seals, which congregate at the west pier. My wife and I are regular walkers there, and never fail to observe considerable numbers of tourists, who greatly enjoy the chance to photograph and interact with these impressive sea creatures.

Today I was dismayed to see a notice, newly placed by the harbour authorities, which threatens a draconian €5,000 fine on any person feeding seals from the pier. Inquiries to nearby shops, and to harbour staff, failed to elicit any commercial or biological reason for this prohibition. I suspect this is yet another of the numerous bureaucratic idiocies allegedly justifiable under the banner of health and safety.

Following on the loss of the attractions at Malahide Castle, there are now two fewer reasons for visitors to come to Fingal. Is it a vain hope that Fáilte Ireland or Dublin Tourism might involve themselves in such matters, or are such things beneath the range of their executive concerns? – Yours, etc,


Bettyglen, Dublin 5.