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Mounting bird death toll in Belfast park 'distressing' as animal rescue volunteer calls on authorities to act

Distressing scenes in north Belfast's Waterworks Park where dozens of birds are affected by bird flu. Picture Mal McCann.

AN animal rescue volunteer has called on environmental authorities to urgently address the mounting death toll of birds in a Belfast park.

Sean Cummins said the scenes he has witnessed in the Waterworks in recent weeks are "deeply distressing" as dozens of swans, birds and geese are suffering and being "dumped in bins and supermarket trolleys".

Some of the birds have tested positive for Avian Flu.

Mr Cummins volunteers for the Debbie Doolitte Wildlife group and has visited the park almost twice daily over the past decade.

He criticised the lack of guidance from government on dealing with the crisis and raised concerns about the public health implications.

Belfast City workers yesterday visited the site yesterday afternoon to dispose of the deceased birds.

"This has been going on for weeks but in the past 14 day I have seen the deaths," Mr Cummins said.

"The birds are in terrible pain, they are spinning around because the virus has caused their brains to swell and they are confused. They are then drowning. They shouldn't be going through this, it's inhumane.

"There are so many families coming in here but there doesn't seem to be proper advice on what to do with the birds, it's being passed from from one authority to another."

Sinn Féin Belfast city councillor Conor Maskey was also at the park yesterday and appealed for the authorities to intervene.

"Someone needs to make a decision on whether these poor birds should be culled and how to dispose of them in the safest way," he said.

"Children have been in tears at some of the heartbreaking sights, it is not right."

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