RESIDENTS counted 30 rats in a Portlaoise housing estate, where an overgrown pond is attracting vermin.
The plight of householders at the Glen Downs estate was described as “harrowing” by cllr Pauline Madigan, who raised the problem at a meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District.
Cllr Madigan asked for an update on the ongoing issues at the estate on the Stradbally road, particularly in relation to cleaning of the man-made lake.
She said: “Residents counted 30 rats there because of the build-up of silt in the lake. I have sat there with elderly people and it is harrowing. Apart from the lake looking beyond desperate, they are very concerned coming into the winter.”
She was supported by cllr Noel Tuohy, who commented: “The estate is kept impeccably, but there is only so much they can do. The lake flooded at one stage and water came up near the houses. The residents there would appreciate help from the council. It is a beautiful place where you can sit and watch the ducks, but it is over-run now.”
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said the risk of flooding was the main issue, particularly for elderly residents. She added that the lake is a natural habitat and residents are concerned about the effects on wildlife.
Senior engineer Wes Wilkinson said an ecology study was carried out and a draft report has been submitted regarding the pond in the Glen Downs estate. He agreed to give cllr Madigan a copy of the report and said he would meet councillors shortly to discuss the report and possible outcomes.
The engineer added that while some items in the report still had to be clarified, the draft report outlined both short-term and longer-term maintenance works and associated measures that are required to comply with environmental legislation such as the EU Habitats Directive.
He said that, subject to the report clarifications received by the council, the Portlaoise municipal office would compile budget costings for the short-term works. The works may be carried out in early 2019, subject to funding being available.