Residents in a Louth estate who are catching rats 'as big as shovels' are terrified their children will get sick or attacked by dozens of vermin coming out of drains in front of their homes.
The residents of Tredagh View in Drogheda have caught up to 100 rats in their estate since February and are afraid to let their children - as young as three years of age - out to play in their front gardens over where the vermin brazenly run.
The residents of 30 homes in the cul-de-sac have photos and videos of the rats and say they have reported the infestation to Louth Co. Council and Irish Water but feel they are being ignored.
They say two houses are having problems over a number of years, despite numerous attempts to get rid of them but now they are coming up the drains in the estate "We are catching rats at this stage that are the size of shovels and they have no fear at all," said resident Jenny Fagan.
"The problem has been ongoing outside our estate since February and if we let our children out to play, we have to sit outside ourselves and keep an eye on them because of the rats coming up from 16 drains at the front of the houses.
"One lady has caught about 50 herself over the few months and then we've all caught one or two a week. One resident Karl Reynolds moved his dog kennel to find two rats and a whole litter of babies underneath, where they had been breeding. Another found a nest of 20 under his shed.
"Another woman caught one the size of a shovel on her balcony which means we can't even open our windows in hot weather in case they come in.
"There's even a young girl who can't sleep at night because she's terrified they'll come into her bed.
"The youngest child here is about three years old and we are terrified that these children are going to pick up the lethal Weil's Disease or be attacked by one of the rats.
"We were having a street bingo here during Covid-19 but we are going to have to do this via Zoom from now on.
"One poor woman called pest control twice and dug up every entry point into her home and put cameras down the drains but nothing was solved.
She found rats nesting under her shower tray, in the kitchen ceiling, chewing on water pipes and coming up her toilet.
"They'll run across our gardens in front of us and one even ran up into the engine of a car. It's a pure public health matter but no-one seems to want to take responsibility - they all seem to be passing the buck.
"We understand that if they are in our homes, it's our responsibility to get rid of them but this is outside where children play and it should be an urgent health and safety matter.
"All we want is someone to come up and talk to us and tell us what they are going to do. But at the minute, we are being ignored while the rats get bigger".
In a statement Louth Co Council said: "The Council has notified the HSE of the problem in relation to vermin in the common areas. Vermin within a house is a matter for the tenant to address as per the tenancy agreement."
However, the HSE said in a statement: "Under the Rats and Mice (Destruction) Act 1919, the primary responsibility for keeping land free of rats and mice lies with the occupier. The owners of any public land are responsible for arranging treatment of their own land.
Irish Water have primary responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the public drainage system. Responsibility for baiting the public sewer system lies with Irish Water."
In a statement, they said: "Irish Water is aware of pest control problem in the Tredagh View estate. Irish Water can confirm that following a review of manholes and sewers in the area there does not appear to be an issue with the wastewater infrastructure.
"It should be noted that rats are not attracted by sewage and sewers are rarely a primary cause of rodent problems. However, as a precaution, Irish Water and Louth County Council are engaging the services of a pest control company.
"Irish Water continues to work with Louth County Council, our contractors and others to safeguard the health and well-being of both staff and the public and to ensure the continuity of critical drinking water and wastewater services."