Council tenants in Dublin city facing ‘rat infestation’

Residents demonstrate outside meeting to highlight ‘public health crisis in their flats’

The council was told that in one instance in a  tenant’s flat, ‘a rat had died and there was a terrible smell . . . I don’t think that is an acceptable standard.’ File photograph: Getty

The council was told that in one instance in a tenant’s flat, ‘a rat had died and there was a terrible smell . . . I don’t think that is an acceptable standard.’ File photograph: Getty

 

Tenants living in social housing owned by Dublin City Council are facing a “rat infestation”, a council meeting heard on Monday night.

According to multiple councillors, there is a serious rodent problem in some council housing complexes with York Street and Glovers Court mentioned as areas of concern.

Sinn Féin Cllr Daniel Céitinn said there were protesters outside Monday’s meeting because of the issue.

“[They see it as] a public health crisis in their flats . . . one anecdote from the last few weeks was one woman, whose partner is in a care home . . . there was a nest under the decking in her balcony. A rat had died and there was a terrible smell . . . I don’t think that is an acceptable standard.”

He asked for council workers to meet with affected residents, as well as asking the executive to inform councillors what budget was needed to tackle this issue. “We need to insource this pest control service . . . we are the landlord who is responsible.”

Green Party Cllr Claire Byrne said the residents who were protesting told her the problem had been going on for months.

“They are really simple things that can be done to address this, particularly in Glovers Court, such as enclosing the bins.”

Vacant buildings close to these areas are also contributing to the issue, according to Ms Byrne. “Those people deserve to live in a decent standard of accommodation,” she said.

Council deputy chief executive Brendan Kennysaid a “huge amount of work” had been done on the rat issue.

He said the council had hired new staff and bought two new vans to deal with the problem, but the situation has deteriorated over the past year. “The poison that is being used now is not as strong,” he said.

Mr Kenny said he would welcome councillors increasing the pest-control budget to deal with the issue and a written report has been compiled.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan also addressed the meeting and warned councillors they will have to make tough decisions with regards to transport.

He said there was a need to reallocate space to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists and an overemphasis on hotels and offices. Mr Ryan also said he believed BusConnects was “essential” to Ireland meeting its climate targets.

Minister endorses BusConnects

Mr Ryan said he had faith in the consultation process, despite strong objections to the plans from some local residents.

“The council has a critical role . . . working with the NTA [National Transport Authority] to deliver it. We need BusConnects and we need it urgently.”

He added that if road space was not reallocated, public transport will not be able to scale up and Dublin city will return to heavy traffic due to the high number of cars.

Mr Ryan said there were other key projects from a climate change perspective that he hoped the council could bring to fruition.

One of these is the district heating project, where waste heat from the Poolbeg and other energy generators is repurposed to heat homes.

Mr Ryan said offshore wind farms will also be crucial, as will retrofitting.

The Minister also defended the number of data centres in Ireland, after Sinn Féin Cllr Janice Boylan and Social Democrats Cllr Patricia Roe questioned how climate targets can be met while new data centres are being built.

Mr Ryan said data centres had to operate within the Government’s climate plan. “There’s no exemption, no get out . . . but we do need data centres.”