Thursday 25 December 2014

Storm swells throw up needles, bottles and an old refrigerator

Storm Christine €300m clean up got underway today

Aishling Phelan

Published 07/01/2014 | 13:22

The early morning scene in Clontarfafter the flood waters receded, one of the many needles found
The early morning scene in Clontarfafter the flood waters receded, one of the many needles found
A bottle of urine washed up in Clontarf following the storm
A dead rat washed up after the storm

THE €300m Storm Christine clean-up has begun in earnest today.

Local authority staff were out at first light in locations across this country this morning to begin clearing the debris.

However, the high tides and swells have thrown up more than expected.

Staff at Clontarf in Dublin found a number of needles that were washed up ashore by the high tides.

One council employee told independent.ie he came across six different needles while cleaning the debris washed up by the shore in just a ten minute period.

Plastic bottles, branches, bags and an old refrigerator were also among the debris washed up at Clontarf over the last several days.

Storm Christine was the most prolonged and destructive storm to hit the country in almost two decades.

It wreaked havoc particularly on the South West and West coasts with Galway, Clare, Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Waterford and Wexford bearing the brunt.

The heavy rainfall caused huge sea swells, and led to rising river levels which led to the rivers Lee, Liffey and Corrib breaking their banks.

The stormy weather has lead to other unforeseen problems.

Two pest control companies have claimed that flooding has led to a spike in demand for their services.

Cathal Dockery, owner of Galway firm Westpest, said the company had seen an increase in calls about rats in the past week.

He said the numbers of calls had more than doubled in areas such as Salthill.

''We would usually receive three or four calls a week, this week I have been called out eight times.''

A second company claimed they had received a 300pc increase in calls since the stormy weather caused tidal surges across the country.

Giant rats are seeking shelter in family homes after the stormy weather and high tides.

Trevor Hayden, managing director at Dublin based company Complete Pest Control, said the flooding prompted rats to flock to drier conditions.

The company has taken calls from customers hearing noises and movement in the walls and ceilings of their homes.

“Having a rat in your home is very different from a mouse and these rats are bigger than a kitten,” Trevor told independent.ie.

“People are not seeing the rats, it’s when they’re sitting watching TV that they hear noises, although some people may catch a glimpse,” he said.

Noises of scampering have caused homeowners to call the pest control company, with a 250 per cent increase in Dublin.

He said finding one of these large-sized rats can be “frightening” and the company has been inundated since the high tides began.

Some of the disease-ridden rats caught in recent days have been 10 to 12 inches long.

“It’s mainly in the coastal areas and Dublin, it’s not too bad in the midlands,” he said.

The expert explained that the company is usually busier in the winter but the floods and stormy weather have exaggerated the problem.

“The heavy rain and tidal surges have caused the water level to rise.

“Their burrows have been flooded so they are searching for dry and warm areas in houses,’’ he added.

The rat population grew significantly during the warm summer with Mr Hayden saying the rodents “had it easy up until now”.

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