Rats force Sarsfields out of Willsbrook Park

by Ian Begley

Lucan Sarsfields GAA club have cancelled all of their matches and training sessions in Willsbrook Park due to rat infestation issues.
The GAA Club have suspended all games with “immediate effect” in the park recently and rescheduled their matches and training sessions to alternative parks around Lucan.
An email was circulated among club members and officials on this issue, stating: “Due to a rat infestation, and the use of poison in Willsbrook Park, the club has decided for the health and safety of our players that all club activity in Willsbrook Park is to be suspended with immediate effect until further notice. We will review this suspension with [the council] over the coming week and advise when the issue has been resolved.”
Ciaran Dunne, Lucan Sarsfields’ public relations officer, has told The Gazette this vermin problem has being going on for several weeks and he believes the entire park should be closed to the public.
He said: “It’s a pity that this issue wasn’t highlighted before now. All we’re interested in is getting our park back in action again.
“The whole park should be closed if you ask me because the rats will be there regardless of whether there’s football taking place there or not.
“Our games won’t be cancelled, but just moved from Willsbrook Park to another location. I’m not sure what the root cause of this is, but it’s the council’s job to sort this out because they’re the ones who let it get to this stage.”
Commenting on this issue, Lucan’s Cllr Ed O’Brien (FF) said: “Obviously the vermin problem in Willsbrook Park is very unfortunate for Lucan Sarsfields as they already have limited space for their games. This is going to inconvenience them greatly.
“Residents who have contacted me say they believe that the rat infestation occurred due to the ongoing works on Elmsbrook Road in connection with the Willsbrook Cycle Scheme.
“They have told me that since these works began rats started appearing in the park.”
Cllr O’Brien added that the council has since put down rat poison around Willsbrook Park but has heard that the rat problem still continues.
“Lucan Sarsfields has no option but to pull their games from the park because there’s a risk for people’s health and safety.
“The local authority have to deal with this issue promptly because people will stay out of the park if this problem isn’t dealt with properly,” he said.
Lucan’s Cllr Paul Gogarty (Ind) also commented, saying: “I’ve raised the matter with the council’s parks’ department as well as related illegal dumping and also asked for clarification that rat poisoning is being left in areas not accessible to birds and other wildlife.”
The council acknowledged the vermin concern in the park, but could not confirm to the Gazette the root of the problem.
A spokesperson said: “There is a problem with illegally dumped domestic waste and littering in the area and this, coupled with recent hedge pruning works which appear to have displaced animals, has contributed to the problem.
“The area was baited for rats on April 7, 2015 and a clean-up of the area has also been initiated to address the problem which will continue to be monitored.”

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