05 February 2006

Birdman to face the beak

Sunday Life

Stephen Breen
05 February 2006

The angry 'have-a-go hero' who received a £50 fine for feeding pigeons was last night at the centre of a fresh row with Belfast City Council.

Sunday Life can reveal that Gerard Braiden (51) will appear at Belfast's Magistrate's Court on Tuesday after he was accused of failing to provide his name and address to the city's litter warden.

Mr Braiden - whose best pal Norman Lowry was left fighting for his life after they attempted to stop a notorious car thief last March - received a summons last Monday over his failure to disclose his details during a heated row with the warden, last December.

His row with the warden erupted after he fed pigeons with seed at Hector Street in the city-centre.

The bird-lover was feeding the pigeons just a few yards from where his pal was mown down and seriously injured by car thief Stephen O'Hagan.

Mr Braiden claims he refused to divulge his name and address because the council employee failed to produce identification.

The Belfastman claimed he provided his details to two police officers, who had accompanied the litter warden.

Mr Braiden, who has received support from the USPCA in his ongoing feud with the council, will represent himself in court.

He also refused to pay any fines imposed on him by the court.

"This whole situation is absurd - I can't believe the council is still continuing this row. I thought it was over," he said.

"I admit I didn't give my name to the council employee but this was because he didn't produce any identification - he could have been anybody.

"I was feeding the pigeons on private property and just because he was wearing a council uniform didn't mean this was his identification.

"I thought they got their pound of flesh over this matter and I have no idea why they are still pursuing me.

"I look forward to seeing the council in court and I'm not going to back down on this matter."

A council spokesman said: "This is now a matter for the court and we won't be adding any further comment."

This latest development comes after his controversial fine for feeding pigeons was paid by a mystery bird lover.

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