The head of the Housing Executive, Clark Baillie, has met with concerned residents and political representatives to discuss rat infestation issues in the Bogside area of the city.
The Chief Executive joined the Housing Executive’s West Area Manager, Eddie Doherty, for what was described as a very constructive meeting about the matter over recent days.
Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan and local Councillor Patricia Logue described the meeting as a positive engagement.
The local representatives said it was the first of a number of meetings about ongoing rodent issues in the Bogside that they hoped to arrange over the coming weeks.
Ms. Mullan said: “This has been a reoccurring problem for a while now, it is totally unacceptable that residents should have to live with this ongoing problem and we are meeting with all relevant agencies to address this problem.”
Residents have expressed concern about rats running rampant in and around the area and infesting housing.
It’s a problem that’s been ongoing for some time and efforts have now been made to arrange meetings with any statutory agencies that can play a positive role in tackling the issue.
“First of these was with Housing Executive, which was constructive and they have agreed to do all they can to resolve this issues,” said Ms. Mullan.
“We have planned further meetings with other agencies about this matter and we will continue our dialogue with residents until this matter can be finally resolved,” added the Foyle MLA.
Rats, while generally harmless, are a known disease carrier and their presence in and around housing is understandably a concern for residents.
Leptospirosis, the most severe form of which is commonly known as Weil’s disease, for example, is borne in the blood and urine of animals including rats.
While rare in Ireland it can trigger quite serious symptoms in those affected.
A spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: “Our Chief Executive and West Area Manager met with Sinn Fein representatives on Wednesday, July 17 to discuss a range of housing issues, including the issue of rodents in the Bogside.
“The Housing Executive has previously carried out investigations and remedial work to a number of properties in the area, and we are committed to working in collaboration with other agencies to find a solution to this problem.”