Speaking at July's monthly meeting of Louth County Council, Sinn Féin Cllr Joanna Byrne insisted that the setting up of a taskforce to combat the growing issue of rodents throughout the county is a must if the Local Authority is serious about tackling the growing issue of rats.
Councillor Byrne originally asked for this task force to be set up after her recent visit with residents in the Tredagh View estate but following on from that it has emerged that this issue is evolving and escalating throughout the County in many public lands and drains.
'Somebody needs to take ownership of this issue. People are left yoyoing between Irish Water, Louth County Council, HSE and Pest Control companies, with nobody willing or wanting to take responsibility,' she said. 'I think the solution is, as I've previously asked for, a multi-agency taskforce focusing on working together collectively when necessary to eliminate issues like Tredagh View that arise and not allow them to fester and grow."
The Chief Executive Joan Martin responded directly to Cllr Byrne stating that while she was not sure a task force was required she would certainly take it upon herself to discuss the Tredagh View issue and the wider issue itself with her management team and undertake to seek solutions.
As reported in the Drogheda Independent four weeks ago, the semi-circle of 30 houses in Tredagh View has been plagued with the filthy vermin for months - and in some cases years - and resident have reached breaking point.
'There's a very serious problem, and just a couple of weeks ago, I went out to my back garden in broad daylight, and there was one the size of a cat in front of me - it was massive - and I froze,' said one resident, 'Mary' to protect her identity. 'I got poison from my neighbour and hid it in chocolate, and it ate it all along the fence, and then later that night, I saw what looked like the same rat running along the street, with no fear.'
Another resident who also wishes to remain anonymous says every house has been hit.
'They're in the cavities of my walls, and spilling out onto the streets,' says 'Susan'. 'During the day they are running in and out of the gardens and we're petrified to let the kids out to play, and can't leave our windows or doors open. It's absolutely horrendous.'
Speaking after the meeting Cllr Byrne was happy with the outcome. 'The response from the Chief Executive on this issue today was very positive, to get that commitment from her to personally review any ongoing issue is always a good thing and I look forward to her response. I still think a taskforce is necessary here but I am willing to work with the Council on this. The comments and undertaking by M/s Martin today gives assurances to the residents and people who are enduring such horrendous battles with rats that their issues are being taken seriously and that there is hope in finding solutions.'