‘Plague of rats’ causing health concerns in County Limerick

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by Alan Jacques

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parachuting-ratLIMERICK City and County Council has been asked to address the vermin problem at the former municipal dump at Gortadroma in West Limerick amid claims that one local man is catching up to 20 rats a week at his home.

Speaking at this month’s Adare-Rathkeale municipal district meeting, Sinn Fein councillor Ciara McMahon said that families living within a two mile radius of the former landfill site are very concerned at the high number of rodents that are being caught in the area.

“I have rat traps at my house and I’m not catching one a week. This man who lives half a mile from the dump site is catching 20 a week. No one wants that in their backyard and people are suffering,” Cllr McMahon claimed.

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“I’m also hearing that some of these rats are very old,” she commented.

Council engineer Gerry Doherty explained that rats don’t travel miles and that the local authority didn’t see a need for a “rat service” two or three kilometres away from the landfill site. He also said that since the Gortadroma site was sealed in April 2014 there was now no access to the landfill for rats.

Mayor Kevin Sheahan (FF) told Mr Doherty that if there never had been a Gortadroma there would never have been a “plague of rats”.

“Are you convinced we have no responsibility to do anything? Rats are all over the place. Do we ignore it or do something about it?” he asked the council executive.

“I don’t care whether these rats are parachuting down from the sky, it has to stop. We would not be able to ignore a plague of rats someplace. What if a child or old person were bitten? They do bite you know, I’ve dealt with enough of them. Lets have this rat issue resolved,” Cllr Sheahan insisted.

Cllr Richard O’Donoghue (FF) said that 20 rats a week being “executed” in an area was a serious health issue. He believes rodents are moving further afield since the closure of the landfill last year.

Fine Gael councillor Stephen Keary also expressed concern over what he described as a public health issue.

Mr Doherty told councillors that he would take their concerns on board and promised to address the problem.