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28 Sept 2022

Iarnród Éireann moves to address ‘rail’ litter issue on former Limerick line

Iarnród Éireann moves to address ‘rail’ litter issue on former Limerick line

Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely has welcomed the clean-up by Irish Rail | PICTURE: Adrian Butler

DUMPING on a disused rail line is attracting “rats the size of little kittens” to neighbouring properties, it’s been claimed.

Irish Rail has, this week, launched a major clean-up around the Rathbane railway crossing​, which has become a magnet for littering, causing upset for local residents.

The rail line has been closed since 2009 when freight traffic between Colbert Station and Mungret Cement factory ceased. From then on, it has been gated off.

But local resident Sharon Fitzgerald, who lives right beside the track, said the presence of litter has become a major public health issue for locals, with councillor Sarah Kiely writing to the landowner Irish Rail on the issue.​

Ms Fitzgerald, the area’s former lollipop lady said: “It's absolutely disgusting, it really and truly is. You think you can sit out the back garden, and you wonder what's behind the wall. We are seeing rats which are the size of little kittens. If one rat gets into one of these houses, we will be infested altogether.”

Councillor Kiely added: “We all know you can get Weil's disease from the urine of rats and other rodents, so it is a public health issue as well as everything else. These residents have been fighting for years to have this addressed. Irish Rail has committed to doing a clean-up which is welcome. But they need to secure their property and do clean-ups more regularly.”

Prior to the first lockdown, trees were cut down on the side of the railtrack, with Ms Fitzgerald saying they were left there.

“In my opinion, that made it nice and comfortable for the rodents. It is a nest for mice and rats,” she added.

Councillor Kiely has urged people to stop dumping, saying: “It’s the only way good residents in the area are going to see any significant change. I hear residents in the area crying out for help. Public health is at stake here.”

A spokesperson for Irish Rail confirmed the clean-up today.

They added the issue of dumping requires input from all local stakeholders to find a long-term solution.

“​Iarnród Éireann is and will continue to be in contact with the council on this matter,” they concluded.

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