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Mice, rats, slugs and poo among pest issues at Leinster House

By Darragh McDonagh

Mice in a medical room, rats in a gents toilet, slugs in a basement, and fouling “next to the minister’s entrance” were some of the pest issues recorded at Leinster House during the past six months.

Exterminators also warned that someone in the nearby Office of the Attorney General was defying instructions not to feed pigeons, and the resultant droppings on the building’s doorsteps would “most likely cause an accident”.

An infestation of flies was reported in the ushers’ hut at the Merrion Street entrance to Leinster House last November, while rats were spotted burrowing out of a drain in a car park in January.

Read More: Politicians left hungry after Dail restaurants forced to close due to toxic fumes

The pest control company identified a “possible disease risk” due to bird droppings around the door bridge connecting the building to the Department of An Taoiseach, and vegetation growing inside the link corridor indicated the existence of an entry point for pests.

A buildup of bird droppings on the air-handling units next to the minister’s entrance was also considered a “health and safety risk” that would also encourage insect infestations in the building.

A “possible disease risk” was also identified in the ministers’ car park, and the pest control company recommended a specialist cleaning of the area “once fly activity is under control”.

The details are contained in records compiled by the company, which were released by the Houses of the Oireachtas Service under the Freedom of Information Act.

One pest that caused no notable issues during the six-month period was the clothes moth, which is being controlled using “Exosex” lures that use pheromones to trick male insects into mating with other males.

More than 70 of the devices were installed in Leinster House in 2020, attracting male moths by emitting female pheromones before coating them with a powder that induces a state of sexual confusion.

The treatment comes at a cost, however, and the records show that almost €5,900 was spent on moth-specific pest control services in the four-and-a-half-month period from mid-September to the end of last January.

Persistent issues with bird droppings outside the attorney general’s office prompted an email from the exterminators, asking that warnings not to feed pigeons in the area be conveyed to the relevant section.

“This is the worst I’ve seen this area for fouling all over each door step, which will most likely cause an accident,” they wrote.

“If you go back over previous recommendations, I’ve mentioned that someone is continuously feeding the birds, which is making this an ideal breeding site.”

The Houses of the Oireachtas Service did not comment but has previously said that “a robust and extensive pest control system [is] in place, which is appropriate to the size, age and location of the Leinster House campus.”

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Dive Deeper:
Bee highways: how they work and why we need them
Hundreds of miles of bee highways are being created across the UK to halt the drastic decline in the insect’s…
How climate change is triggering a global collapse in insect numbers
A growing number of reports are suggesting insect numbers are in steep decline. Tim Newbold and Charlie Outhwaite explain why…
Minister is asked to defer Government decision on maternity hospital
The Oireachtas Health Committee has written to the Minister for Health to ask him to defer Cabinet’s approval of the…
Readers reply: can seagulls recognise you?
The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Building Fire Leaves Scores of Victims in New Delhi
Police in New Delhi arrested two people suspected of flouting fire safety regulations on Saturday after at least 27 people…
This week in Jerusalem: More coronavirus damage
A weekly round-up of city affairs.
Get all your news in one place