Friday 23 March 2018

Rats run riot in Wheatfield Prison kitchen

Wheatfield Prison
Wheatfield Prison

Darragh McDonagh

Rats have run riot in Wheatfield Prison, infesting the kitchen, medical unit, boardroom and search area.

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) said it has implemented an action plan and cleaning project at the prison in response to a large-scale rat infestation.

Rodents have been reported in areas including kitchens, a medical unit, and a workshop at the prison, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

A "dead rodent smell" was also reported in the search area and in a prison boardroom, although no carcasses could be located and the areas were instead treated with odour neutraliser.

It was reported earlier this year that prisoners had seen up to 30 rats being killed by an individual using a shovel, while others spotted two rats eating a dead rodent on a landing near the cells.

The IPS declined to comment in relation to these specific incidents, but stated that the reports related to an issue that arose at Wheatfield Prison last February.

"At the time, prison management was aware of the problem in Wheatfield and an action plan, including a large-scale cleaning project of the grounds, was put in place to address the issue," said a spokesman.

However, inspection reports compiled by the pest control company used by the IPS show that the rodent problem at Wheatfield Prison was evident for at least two years prior to the implementation of the action plan.

In 2015 the company carried out treatment for the presence of rodents in the prison surgery and in its segregation unit, which is typically used for criminal gang members. It attended the main kitchen nine times during 2015.

An IPS spokesman said the rodent problem was "swiftly dealt with" and the pest control company has carried out regular inspections.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section