In a statement, Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett has said the failure of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co Council and the HSE to deal with a rat infestation affecting Council tenants in Dun Laoghaire was totally unacceptable.

Tenants along a row of Council houses on Desmond Ave in Central Dun Laoghaire have been plagued with rats for several weeks but measures taken by the Council and the HSE have failed to address the problem.

Tenants who have children in their homes are particularly terrified and already very young children have encountered rats jumping out of bins in the communal lane at the back of the row of Council houses.

In desperation, some tenants have even taken to trying to kill the rats by hand using skewers forks and shovels.

Cllr Boyd Barrett has contacted the Council to tell them that the measures taken to date to deal with the infestation have not worked and that immediate action is required.

Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett said:
“This situation is totally unacceptable. Council tenants should not have to put up with these intolerable conditions. The Council, as landlord, and the HSE, as the health and safety authority, have an obligation to sort this problem out immediately.

While no-one should have to put up with this, it is particularly worrying that children are encountering these rats and their safety is being put at risk. Young children – as young as 2 years old – have been in the lane, when rats jumped out from behind bins – terrifying them. Something has to be done about this straight away.

There are a lot of problems with these particular Council houses. They are very old and very small and conditions really are extremely difficult for all the tenants. The Council need to look at a root and branch refurbishment of these houses to bring them up to a civilised standard. The conditions are really reminiscent of tenements a hundred years ago. It’s just not good enough.

This particularly bad situation is the sharp end of the government’s chronic failure to provide adequate social housing for those that need it. It is simply beyond belief that literally hundreds of thousands of new apartments and houses are now standing empty, while others have to live in these Victorian conditions. We are bailing out the banks that effectively own all this empty property, why aren’t we putting those with real housing need into these empty houses? ”

Carol Shortt one of the local residents affected said:
“Rats are running all over the place. Today there was three in the back lane. Yesterday there was two. My boyfriend and other neighbours have killed several over the last few days with shovels and forks but they keep coming. On one occasion two jumped out from behind a bin as I was moving it and came into the kitchen. I am absolutely terrified. I have a very young niece and nephew who I mind for my sister but I can’t bring them here anymore because of the rats.

And it’s not just the rats. The conditions in these houses are intolerable. The radiators burst a while ago destroying my carpet and floors and I have to pay for their replacement. There is no sound-proofing between us and the neighbours above or beside us – it feels like they are in on top of you.

Basically, I am living in a tenement. I’m in this place two years after waiting ten years on the housing list and I’ve had to put in for a transfer. I have to get out of here.”

For more info/confirmation/interviews with local residents contact:
Richard Boyd Barrett 086-7814520
Carol Shortt 085-7644271