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Mice, rats and slugs among pests that plagued Leinster House in past six months

Exterminators identified a “possible disease risk” due to bird droppings around the door bridge connecting the building to the Department of An Taoiseach.

Rats were spotted burrowing out of a drain in a car park in January.
Rats were spotted burrowing out of a drain in a car park in January.
Image: Shutterstock

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.

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.

20211222 Photo 1 Exterminators warned that pigeon droppings on the Office of the Attorney General's doorsteps would “most likely cause an accident”. Source: Darragh McDonagh

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.

Screenshot (40) 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. Source: Darragh McDonagh

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.

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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.”

About the author:

Darragh McDonagh

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