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Rats were taking chocolate from Dáil six weeks before bar closure

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Leinster House

Leinster House

Leinster House

Leinster House authorities were warned rodents were taking chocolate bars six weeks before a rat was spotted in the Dáil bar, forcing it to be closed.

The bar shut for more than a week after a plump rat was spotted by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. It evaded capture for three days in what became known as "Ratgate".

However, internal records reveal that rodent activity had been detected in the main bar as early as May 17, as well as in the kitchen prep area and in both the nearby ladies' and gents' toilets.

A pest control company wrote to Leinster House officials on May 24, explaining that rodents were taking snacks from behind the bar - which may explain the portly appearance of the rat sighted six weeks later.

"Can you please advise bar management to keep all food off the lower units due to rats feeding on chocolate bars... which they are taking out of boxes and dragging in behind the kickboards," they wrote.

New traps were set in the members' area on June 1, and one dead rodent was removed, according to pest control inspection reports released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The eventual capture of the Dáil rat on July 11 was recorded by the pest control company in grim detail. "OPW (Office of Public Works) found one live adult dazed rat… which they humanely killed and disposed of," they said.

The Dáil bar reopened on July 17 after extra traps in the seating areas were removed.

Irish Independent