Rats in the flats
Terrorised city residents are being forced to catch rats and drown them in an attempt to rid their flat complexes of the rodents.
An astonishing 19 rats were caught after residents used a large cage-style family rat trap on Monday night, before the rodents were killed yesterday.
Locals say council efforts to curb the issue by using rat poison are not enough, with residents now resorting to cooking sausages and bacon as bait to lure the vermin into the cage.
Around nine large rats were also caught last week around the Marmion Court complex, which is located by Queen Street and Blackhall Street, in Dublin 7.
Residents told the Herald that the rodents are so brazen they are effectively playing with the children around the complex, with others saying the kids need to be washed after being outside because of health fears.
They say the issue has been ongoing for months and is showing no sign of stopping. They feel they have been left with no option but to take matters into their own hands.
Paul Maguire, who lives in the area, bought the trap for €65.
"The residents can't afford it, it's €2 a trap and it's only one rat at a time, but that [cage] is 20 rats at a time," he said.
He said he's less affected by the rats, because his dog kills them.
"He's killing them on his own, he's the best pest control of the lot, he's killing two or three a day and leaving them in the gardens."
He added that a number of rats came out on top of a binman recently, as he was emptying a bin into the rubbish truck.
"They're playing with the kids, the rats, the kids can't even come out in that," resident Lynn Slattery said.
Ms Slattery said she cooked sausages on Monday as bait.
"It's terrible, it's a disgrace having to live through that," she said. "We're sick of it now at this stage, the council are putting down bait, but we want those traps.
"They're only short of going to the shop for you. The place is walking with them."
She said that when kids go out they need to be washed straight away when they return home.
"Anytime they go in and out we're washing them, making sure their hands are clean, it's terrible," she added.
Her neighbour, Noeleen Keogh, said that while the issue has been going on for a long time, it has got significantly worse in the past six weeks or so.
"We have to take it into our own hands and sit down every night and catch them," she said.
"They're up the balconies; they're climbing all the balconies."
She added that there have been cases of rats getting into some flats. Another resident, who did not want to be named, said her 90-year-old mother is petrified over the rat epidemic.
"She's 90 years of age, she can't open a window or a door," she said. "She came from Benburb Street and the tenement houses and she's never seen anything like that."
The residents have even held protests in recent weeks in order to highlight the issue.
Independent councillor Christy Burke said he has been taking calls on the infestations day after day from concerned residents.
"The numbers that I'm hearing from residents of rodents caught is increasing, you have to take it very seriously," he told the Herald.
"If it continues, you may have to evacuate on health and safety issues - there's young children, there's elderly men and women, there's young men and women.
"The manager may have to look at evacuation and I would support that. They're petrified.
"Nobody in this day and age should have to live with those," he added.
When contacted by the Herald, Dublin City Council said they are aware of infestation issues in the Marmion Court complex and that staff from housing maintenance have identified access points for the rats.
"Arrangements have been made for these access points to be sealed, welded and where possible closed off," a spokesperson said.
"Bait has also been laid."
This work was due to begin yesterday. The spokesperson added that the council have moved the complex's bins away from the street after they received reports of dumping from non-residents.
The council say they don't use rat traps in open areas where there are families and children and that safety issues don't allow them to issue traps to residents.