MORE than 560 suspected cases of rat infestation were reported to Dublin City Council over the last 18 months, the Herald can reveal.
Most complaints came from Ballyfermot and Crumlin but residents across the city reported that the vermin had invaded their attics, bathrooms, bedrooms and back gardens.
Meanwhile, it can also be revealed that the Council has spent more than €22,000 successfully preventing pests from infesting its own headquarters.
In total there were 565 cases of suspected rat infestation reported to the local authority between January 2014 and May this year.
Of those, 420 required the intervention of the council's Pest Control and Fumigation Services.
In some cases, council homes required holes in ceilings, walls and floors repaired in order to prevent rats from easily accessing properties.
The Dublin 12 area - which includes Crumlin, Drimnagh, Bluebell and Walkinstown - saw the most reported cases with a combined 101 suspected infestations brought to the Councils' attention. Householders in Crumlin alone reported 45 cases of rat problems.
Dublin 10 is close behind with 75 cases reported, 46 of which were all in the Ballyfermot area.
Ballyfermot councillor Daithi Doolan said he is inundated "on a weekly basis" with calls from residents about the issue.
Councillor Doolan claimed the reason why rat infestations were so high in Ballyfermot was down to a nearby railway station and works in the area.
"This is a huge public health issue and it needs to be responded to more thoroughly," he said.
"I've had people telling me they are too afraid to hang out their washing because of the rats, let alone let their children go out and play."
The Council could not supply figures for how much it has spent specifically dealing with rat infestations throughout the city as it was covered as part of a wider budget.
A spokesman said that a mobile crew deals with communal areas that have reported rat problems.
The details of reported rat infestation were released under freedom of information laws. The documents also show that the council has spent more than €22,000 on pest control for its own offices since January 2014 to June 2015.
The Council pay private firm Rentokil €1,249.36 a month to carry out site inspections and pest prevention at the Wood Quay premises.
A spokesman told the Herald that the Council has not had a single case of a rat in its offices in the past two years.