‘I’ll never feed the birds again’

“I WILL not feed the birds again,” a disabled Clonmeen woman has vowed after the Housing Executive told her of an anonymous letter of complaint.

Anne Donaldson said she was very upset after she was told someone had grumbled about her feeding the birds.

The widow whose husband died 16 years ago said she had got great comfort from giving the birds bread and feeding other animals.

“I was very hurt. There is a lot more going on that’s worse than feeding wee birds,” she said.

Mrs Donaldson said she had a visit from the Housing Executive a few weeks ago.

She was under the impression that the NIHE had banned her from feeding the birds

However, a spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: “The Housing Executive did receive an anonymous complaint about bird droppings in Clonmeen.

“As a result a member of staff spoke to the tenant and the matter was resolved amicably.

“There was no question of the Housing Executive banning the tenant from feeding the birds.”

However, Mrs Donaldson said she had not fed the birds since the visit from the Housing Officer.

And she added that while the Housing Officer was very nice to her, she was afraid that if she did feed the birds again, it would be a ‘black mark against her tenancy’.

Mrs Donaldson has been a tenant for 44 years, and 25 years resident in Clonmeen. However she said this is the first time she has ever had any ‘trouble’.

Clearly upset that one of her neighbours has written to the Housing Executive, Mrs Donaldson said: “I just want a quiet life. The rest of the neighbours are all great about it. There is so much badness that someone could feel so sad about something like this. It’s the wee birds that end up getting hurt.”

“They used to wait on me coming out to feed them,” she said, clearly upset.

“I always bought the bread specially for the wee birds. I would even buy some of the cheap sausages and cook them up for the dogs too.

“I would lean on my gate as I am bad with arthritis and have a bad back and I would feed them the sausages,” she said.

And she said she always stood in an entry between the 400s and 500s at Clonmeen to feed the birds.

“I always waited until they ate all the bread so there wouldn’t be anything lying about for rats,” she said.

“I just love animals,” said Mrs Donaldson who added that it had helped her this past 16 years since her husband had died.

“And there are other people on the estate who feed them too.

Speaking about the anonymous letter, she said: “I was very hurt and I even cried when I heard I couldn’t feed the birds.”