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Flock of geese under protection of paramilitaries on Shankill

By Staff Reporter

Loyalist paramilitaries have helped a flock of geese set up home in a Belfast housing estate after putting word out that they were "not to be touched".

The BBC reports that a flock of Greylag geese turn up on Belfast's Shankill estate every year, having made the long journey from Iceland. It's thought they have been making the journey for the past decade.

However, residents thought the creatures would be put off returning - that was until loyalist paramilitaries intervened.

Residents who regularly feed the geese said that in the beginning people joked that they would make a good Christmas dinner.

"The paramilitaries round here put a stop to that," said one local.

"They said 'leave the geese alone', so nobody touches them."

And in light of that intervention, the birds have become an integral part of the local community, drawing kids and people out to feed them.

They even hold up traffic as they cross roads in the area.

Belfast Lord Mayor Brian Kingston is one of the area's representatives on the city council.

A keen amateur photographer, the Lord Mayor said he'd photographed the geese on many occasions in the past.

"They're very beautiful birds. They visit every year, attracted by the green grassy area in the estate.

"They're very tame."

"The children love watching them feed - they're a real talking point, and a welcome sign that spring is just around the corner," the DUP politician commented.

Belfast Telegraph writer Malachi O'Doherty counted 55 of the Greylag geese in the Shankill estate on their previous visit in 2016.

"Apparently they are regular visitors.

"It's their traditional route!" Malachi quipped on social media.

The migratory birds are also thought to spend time feeding at Belfast's Waterworks Park, and at the Rathcoole housing estate in Newtownabbey.

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