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Manager of Lees Road Complex, Tim Forde.

Influx of rats at Lees Road Complex

USERS of the Lees Road complex have been told to stick to the pathways, following an outbreak of rats in the area.

Council clearing work for the West Clare Greenway cycle path is likely to be a factor in the recent sightings of an influx of rats close to the Clare County Council-owned Lees Road Complex, the manager believes. Local dumping may also be a contributing factor.

Sightings of the rats have been reported since the fine weather in early April. The rise in temperatures and a milder-than-usual winter may also be factors in the unusual amount of rodents in the area, said Tim Forde, manager of the Lees Road Complex.

A number of local residents and users of the complex have contacted The Clare Champion in recent days to report the unusual numbers of rats seen around the Lees Road area.

“We’re aware of the situation,” Mr Forde told The Clare Champion. “We have been listening to the feedback and what we’ve done is engaged IFS Services to take action on the problem. We have also taken advice from the environmental health officer (EHO) from the HSE as to the best way to manage it,” he said.

“It’s like a natural phenomenon in an open area, which is more difficult than buildings to manage. What we’ve done is to put traps in the ‘hot spots’, as we call them. We’ve had very little success so far, compared to the feedback with regard to the numbers we’re catching,” Mr Forde stated.

“We’re monitoring that on an ongoing basis and we’re keeping in contact with the EHO and our pest company to try to see what more we can do. We’re very conscious of the problem and my own team on the ground have noticed it too,” he said.

“It has been described as a rat nuisance by the EHO because it’s natural. The other thing is the contributing conditions, such as the warmer winter but the important thing for the users of Lees Road is to realise that we’re on it, we’re working on eradicating it the best that we can but we’re conscious of the users; we’re conscious of their dogs and animals and indeed themselves and the younger kids around the place; so we’re trying to do this as safely as possible.

“The staff are keeping an eye on people and we’re telling people to stick to the path. We’re on it and we’re working very hard at fixing the issue. We’d ask people to bear with us on this,” Mr Forde said.

Ron Kirwan

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