Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, says he is very worried at the Health Service Executive (HSE) delays in responding to rat infestation outbreaks, with some complainants being advised that there can be up to a four week delay in dealing with outbreaks.
Crowe said that claims that the pest control section is experiencing significant staff and resource pressures are ‘extremely worrying’.
He believes that rat and other vermin infestation has increased in many areas of Dublin and is linking it directly to an increase in dumping across the City.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“Is a wait of four weeks before someone can even come out and look at the extent of a rat or vermin infestation problem, really a good enough response time?
“We know that rats and other vermin carry all sorts of diseases, so surely this potentially serious health and safety issue requires a much more immediate response from the Environmental Health Service.
“We know that humans supposedly live in close proximity to rats and vermin, but worryingly they seem to be coming much bigger and becoming more brazen in their daytime activity.
“Upset residents and many worried parents who have contacted their Environmental Health Officer after spotting vermin on green spaces or play areas shouldn’t have to wait weeks while their reports are assessed and somehow prioritised. This isn’t good enough.
Mr Crowes comments come as Dublin City Council (DCC) this week confirmed that there has been an increase in rat sightings throughout the capital, and warned that illegal dumping is attracting the pests.
And back in April a housing estate in Clondalkin was over run with up to thirty rats with residents reporting they were “as big as cats.”
While acknowledging that the HSE are under pressure, Mr Crowe said more needs to be done before the problem gets bigger. He said:
“The Environmental Health Service, who has overall responsibility for any outbreak of rat or vermin infestation, is clearly under severe pressure supposedly due to staff and other resource difficulties.
“We know that a rat infestation previously plagued a housing estate in Clondalkin earlier this year and there are similar reports now coming from Ballyfermot, where massive rodents are swarming the area.
“This year has seen an increase in vermin visibility and the amount of calls coming from concerned residents into my constituency office would suggest that the problem seems to be getting worse.
“This may be down to favourable weather conditions but is undeniably linked to the amount of illegal waste being dumped right across Dublin
“The four week response time to a vermin outbreak is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. I have written to the Minster for Health Simon Harris asking him for an explanation and extra resources to be allocated to the in Dublin’s Pest Control Units if required.
“Worried and understandably upset residents shouldn’t have to wait up to four weeks to get a call out response from pest control and it needs immediate attention.”