A KNOCKNAHEENY woman is afraid to open her windows due to an infestation of “hundreds” of rats at her home due to illegal dumping in the estate.
Amanda Feeney, a mother of three children under the age of eight, said she has had to get rid of her pet dogs and cannot allow her kids to play in the front or back garden of her council-owned home to due to rats nesting in the area.
She believes the rats are being drawn by illegal dumping in a laneway behind her home at Killala Gardens.
“I can’t fault the City Council because they are there every day cleaning it up and taking it away,” she told the Evening Echo.
“There’s a back alley behind me and there’s a lot of dumping that goes on there. The rats are in my front and back gardens.
“They are literally crawling across my windows at the front. We can’t leave a window open and they have eaten into and nested in my wheelie bin.
“Many times the bin collectors can’t even take the bins because there are rats inside it. These are my second lot of bins and they are still getting in there.
“We have set traps but the rats are literally in their hundreds. I have a shed out my back where I keep bikes and toys that belong to my kids but the rats have eaten their way through the top of the door and nested in there too. Everything inside of it will have to be disposed of.”
Ms Feeney has taken several pictures and recorded a number of videos of the rats around her home and is afraid her kids could be at risk from diseases spread by rodent urine.
“The rats are basically walking along with us. If I open my porch in the evening time I can see them.
“The kids are afraid to go outside because they worry a rat is going to pop out in front of them. I had two Jack Russell dogs but I had to get rid of them because the rats were almost attacking them for their food,” she added.
New bylaws for the collection of household waste are due this year and will see householders quizzed by local authority officials on how they dispose of their waste. If the householder uses a civic amenity site, they will need to keep receipts for at least a year to prove this or face fines of up to €2,500.
Local Councillor Mick Nugent (SF) said the sooner these laws are implemented the better.
“Unfortunately there is an issue in a number of areas, including Killala Gardens, of occasional illegal dumping. This example shows how it affects people. The council will take away rubbish and clean up areas when we make them aware of dumping.
“The problem is that when the council clear the rubbish, the dumpers think it’s almost like a free rubbish removal service. The vast majority of people are compliant and the dumping is only being done by a small number of people.
“We need more sanctions for persistent offenders. Housing officers and city officials have to be able to knock on people’s doors and ask to see evidence of their bin service.
“I would stress this dumping is only being done by a small number of individuals and I would call on the people that are dumping the rubbish to stop and think about it,” he added.
Cork City Council’s tenant handbook states that rodent infestations on a council-rented property are the responsibility of the tenant.
However, the local authority’s environment directorate has said that their litter wardens will inspect the area and monitor the dumping situation.