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Dáil pigeons, Four Courts rats and museum mice among dozens of pest callouts to OPW sites

Companies were called more than 50 times by the OPW over a two-year period.

Image: PA Images

PEST CONTROL COMPANIES were called to remove rats, pigeons and foxes from public sites and buildings over 50 times in recent years, according to new records.

A log of callouts released under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that the companies attended 19 sites in control of the Office of Public Works (OPW) in just under two years. The OPW is responsible for conserving and presenting State-owned and protected national monuments along with important historic properties in Ireland. 

The CIÉ’s Central Engineering Workshop in Inchicore in Dublin saw the most callouts, with pest control visiting the site on nine occasions to cull birds, install a gull deterrent system and on one occasion trap and remove foxes.

Dublin Castle also saw a significant number of callouts over the two-year period. Pest control was called to the 13th century building to prevent pigeons nesting, to implement rodent controls and to spray ants on three different occasions.

Birds proved a regular problem at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Employment’s headquarters on Dublin’s Kildare Street, with three callouts made to install pigeon proofing systems and to prevent birds from entering part of the building.

The same problem was also an issue on two occasions at the Four Courts, where pest control was also called to remove rodents, while a company was called in to Government Buildings in 2018 to stop a bird nesting under a walkway bridge.

Pest control companies did not just deal with rats and birds, however, with insects the cause of a number of calls to public sites and buildings across the country.

Last year saw callouts to the Casino in Marino in Dublin because of a wasp infestation, which was also a problem in the official State guesthouse in Farmleigh, the Custom House, the National Botanic Gardens, and Castletown House in Co Kildare.

Cluster flies needed to be removed from the John F Kennedy Arboretum in Wexford and the vacant garda station in Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, while pest control was also called to remove moths from the former home and school of Patrick Pearse in Dublin.

Extreme weather

Richard Faulkner, a technical field consultant for pest control company Rentokil, said that more extreme weather has seen pest habits and behaviours become more difficult to predict in recent years.

The company says it saw an overall 56% increase in rodent callouts and 14% increase in insect callouts in 2019, and believes increases will continue as a result of climate change because of progressively warmer conditions and increasing rainfall levels.

“Traditionally we would have experienced specific seasonal spikes in infestations from different pests, but we are seeing that many are becoming a problem all year round,” Faulkner said.

“Pests including rats, mice, flies, and bed bugs are moving indoors during months that we haven’t traditionally seen.”

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