Rats ‘swinging from the curtains’ of derelict Dublin home, neighbours claim

Locals calling on Dublin City Council to take action after one bitten by a rat in garden

The house on Lorcan Cresent in Santry has become infested with rats

A notice from Dublin City Council posted outside the property

thumbnail: The house on Lorcan Cresent in Santry has become infested with rats
thumbnail: A notice from Dublin City Council posted outside the property
Amy Blaney

A major rat infestation at a derelict house in north Dublin is having a “horrendous” impact on local residents.

Neighbours claim rats are “swinging from the curtains” at the abandoned property, and one was bitten by a rat as they tried to remove rubbish from the garden.

Seven years since it was abandoned, attempts have been made by Dublin City Council to acquire the property at 14 Lorcan Cresent, Santry, which has been added to the list of derelict sites.

Local residents claim the property has been taken over by rats and foxes and the infestation is now affecting their own homes.

In the sitting room, clothes are still hanging on a clothes horse, furniture is haggard and damaged, and a bottle of hairspray sits on the mantelpiece.

“They swing out of the curtains and they pulled them down eventually… it’s highly rat infested,” said one neighbour, who has called pest control numerous times.

“I never knew I had a fear of rats until I saw them in my home… It’s absolutely disgusting.”

Local residents are calling on the council to step in and acquire the house and make it suitable for a new family to move in.

The neighbour has had to give away her dog, named Tiny, after it was bitten numerous times in the garden.

“Living next door to it, I get the rats, foxes. I had to let my little dog go, she was getting eaten alive,” she said.

“She loved the garden out the back, but she started getting very fretful. She was practically eaten alive. The vet bills were getting huge.

“I had to give her away to somebody to mind her. I couldn’t believe I had to let the dog go, it was a big loss,” she added.

The property has been added to the list of derelict sites

The neighbour frequently sets down rat poison and calls pest control. She has found two rats in her own home as a result of the infestation.

“When we had the dog she dragged it in and it was on the kitchen floor. The dog thought it was dead,” she said.

In a separate incident, she was watching TV when she “heard what I would consider the sound of a knife and fork hitting the plate”.

“I heard a crash and bang. I opened the door and walked in and a rat jumped off the table and straight under the cooker… I was balling,” she said.

The neighbour has been living in the house with her husband for 28 years and said she frequently sees the rats outside under the shed.

“It makes me feel sick because you are very aware that they bring illnesses of a different kind,” she said.

When the weather is good during the summer months, the neighbour keeps her windows and door closed in fear of rodents entering the home.

“The restriction is unbelievable,” she said. The back garden of the derelict site has overgrown into a “forest” and has attracted a den of foxes.

“They wail around at night like banshees, it’s absolutely horrendous,” she said.

A family living across the road expressed concern for the children on the street after a mother was bitten by a rat while attempting to pick up rubbish in the front of the garden.

“I have a seven-month-old and in another year I will have another one and I don’t want them growing up across from that, where they are going out to play,” the mother said.

“There was a lot of rubbish so I was just picking it out and something jumped up and bit me. From what I could see it was a rat, I could see the tail.

“Thankfully it wasn’t a bad one, but from what I could see it was amongst the rubbish, it was spilling over,” she said.

The property is believed to have been abandoned for seven years

“Every house around here has young kids. I would be more concerned about the kids. Nobody has touched it [the house] in years.”

The family contacted pest control over the rodents in the derelict house, however, they were told they must be living in the property for pest control to enter.

The property was added to the Derelict Site Register in January following an inspection by Dublin City Council last summer, and is subject to an annual derelict sites levy of 7pc of the market value.

“A levy in the amount of €21,700 per annum shall be chargeable in respect of the above site from January 1, 2023,” said a notice from the council posted outside the property.

Following this, the council issued a compulsory acquisition notice to the landlord on December 16, 2022, to acquire the property, and an objection has since been lodged.

The Derelict Sites Act 1990 provides that if an objection is made to the compulsory acquisition, the derelict site cannot be compulsory acquired by the council without the consent of An Bord Pleanála.

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said the rat infestation is an issue for the HSE and it cannot comment on the ongoing acquisition process.