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Friday 20 September 2019

Watch: 'I'm afraid for my kids' lives' - Family forced into one room as rat infestation takes over their home

Debise Gibson with her partner Ross and daughters Lilly (7) and Ella (5)
Debise Gibson with her partner Ross and daughters Lilly (7) and Ella (5)
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A young family have been forced to sleep in one bedroom due to a rat infestation at their home in Co Donegal.

Denise Gibson from Manorcunningham, Co Donegal told Independent.ie that the large rats have forced their way into her council home.

The mum-of-two is living at Fr Arnold Terrace with her partner Ross and two daughters Lilly (7) and Ella (5).

"It's unbelievable. The rats have been coming into our home for the past four years. It's gotten so serious that my young daughters are forced to sleep in the bed beside me and my partner because they're terrified."

Denise said that the rats are coming in through her air vent in the kitchen and have invaded the floorboards, attic and bedrooms.

"The final straw for me was when they came into my daughter's bedroom. I'm seriously concerned that my young kids will be attacked by the rats.

"I rang social services and they said they can't help unless one of my kids is harmed. I have to wait for my kids to be harmed before anyone will help us."

The mum-of-two said she has been in contact with Donegal County Council several times and they have sent out pest control teams.

"The pest control hasn't helped because the rats keep coming back."

Denise added that she even got cats to help deter the rats but that "nothing has solved the problem".

"It's ridiculous. The rats even ate through my sink and have ran across our toes.

"My children are awake until 4am because they're so afraid and they can hear the rats scraping through the floorbeds.

"My friend was over at the house the last day and she was amazed that we had so many 'squirrels' in the garden. I had to tell her that they were rats."

Denise said that she would love to move out of the home but can't afford to rent a house in Donegal.

"I'm on social welfare so I really can't afford it but something has to change. I'm afraid for my kids' lives."

The young family received some respite as her partner Ross's employer TXMaxx arranged for the family to stay at a hotel for the weekend.

"It was very good of him. We're delighted to be out of the house."

Denise said that her neighbours also have similar rat problems but because of her location in the neighbourhood she is "getting it the worst".

"Donegal County Council really need to step up and take care of the problem. It's been going on for too long."

In a statement Donegal County Council said:

"Donegal County Council can confirm that there was an issue in this area with vermin and the Council has carried out substantial works to address this issue and continues to monitor this area on an ongoing basis.

"The most recent inspection last week by a specialised Pest Control Contractor confirmed that there was no evidence of rodents in the bait boxes in the property in question (external or attic). The Council will continue to monitor this matter."

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