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Pest control company run off its feet with rats



A city pest control company has been ‘run off its feet’ over recent weeks dealing with rat infestations – and has asked the public to take special care with their bins and not to leave any waste lying around.

The double attraction of warmth and food has led to a seasonal explosion in the city’s rat population – but this Winter the problem has been reported as “worse than ever seen before”.

Cathal Dockery, proprietor of the Westpest service in Shantalla, told the Galway City Tribune that over the past six weeks the company had been ‘run off its feet’ with business.

“We genuinely never have been as busy and the problem with nearly all our callers is rats. I don’t think that it’s a weather thing – it’s just their seasonal move towards heat and food as wintertime approaches,” said Mr Dockery.

He said that a key factor in the control of the rodents was in the tidy maintenance of bins and waste food.

“Rats will always gravitate towards food,” he said.

The Westpest boss said that in a city context, one of the main problems facing householders is that while they might be keeping their bins and waste secure and tidy, their neighbours down the road might not.

A key ‘tool’ in the Westpest detection of rats is a specially-trained Jack Russell dog, who can scent out the rodents immediately after arriving on site.

“One piece of advice for householders who suspect that they have a rat or rats in their house, is not to put down bait inside in the house. The smell of a dead rat in a house can be absolutely horrendous,” said Mr Dockery.

Where rats are found to be in a residence or business, the pest company set traps for the rodents to ensure that the ‘remains’ can be removed from the property.

They also carry out detailed surveys of properties to identify the potential entry points for the rodents.

The city – with its huge influx of students for the Winter season – is considered a high-risk rat infestation area. Areas with high tenant populations of young people tend to have less emphasis on bin and waste control.

“Another thing for residents to watch out for is any type of renovation or building work being carried out, especially in relation to drainage or sewers. If the nesting area is disturbed then the rats will move on.

“A city like Galway with its network of pipes, drains and waterworks is a natural gathering ground for rats. Every so often, the population seems to explode, and this winter is one of those times,” said Mr Dockery.

If you see a rat close to your house in daylight hours, you can be guaranteed that there is a rodent problem nearby. They rarely venture out during daylight hours unless there’s a large colony nearby, according to Westpest.


Galway City centre streets to be dug up – yet again



From this Week’s Galway City Tribune – Just days after the annual tourist season kicked off with the St Patrick’s weekend festivities, an area of the city’s main throughfare is to be dug up yet again.

The City Council confirmed this week that “upgrade works” at the junction between High Street, Shop Street and Mainguard Street are to commence next week, drawing the ire of local business people and residents.

One local councillor and businessman said the works, which brought huge disruption while being carried out on other stretches of the route in recent years, should have been carried out while footfall was lower in January and February.

Cllr Níall McNelis told the Galway City Tribune that business people in the area were outraged at the news, and despite assurances from the Council that the works would be done “without major disruptions”, bitter experience has taught them otherwise.

“They’re outraged, to be blunt. They just can’t believe this is happening now,” he said.

“Everyone understands that these works are necessary, but this is going to take weeks out of what should be one of their busiest times.”

Works in the area were left incomplete as a result of the visit of Britain’s Prince William and Catherine in 2019.

In a statement issued by the Council, Director of Services Patrick Greene said the works should be “substantially completed by early June”.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the March 24 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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What a melt: proposed bylaws put 20-minute limit on ice cream vans in Galway!



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Ice cream vans will only be allowed to sell to the public for 20 minutes before being obliged to move on to a different location if proposed new bylaws for casual trading in Galway are adopted.

The 2023 regulations to replace the 2011 bylaws will also outlaw any single use plastic products to be given out or sold by stall holders, including bottles, cutlery, containers, single use sachets, plates and straws. Compostable or reusable alternatives must be used instead of single use plastics.

The maximum time that the ice cream mobile unit can be stationary at any one location is 20 minutes.

Traders will avoid huge cost increases seen elsewhere – it will cost €267.50 annually per bay for Eyre Square (up marginally from €250). In St Nicholas’ Market it will be €69.50 per linear metre – generally equating to €139 for regular size pitches, an increase of €9.

Stall holders will again have to buy a separate licence to trade on Sundays and for the market Wednesday to Friday in July and August. But they will be able to set up shop for free at Christmas if they hold a licence for Saturday or Sunday.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read more on the draft Casual Trading Bylaws, see the March 24 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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€450m Emergency Dept and Women and Children’s block at UHG



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Inadequate resuscitation capacity and overall space, as well as isolation from ICU, diagnostics and theatres along are part of the HSE’s rationale for building a new €450 million Emergency Department and Women’s and Children’s block on the grounds of UHG.

The health authority is hoping the new development could commence construction in 2026 and be completed in early 2029, and the Galway City Tribune has learned it would have operational costs in the region of €40 million per annum.

According to the HSE, the existing Temporary Emergency Department – which opened its doors last October – there is inadequate space for the 70,000 attendances each year.

This includes “a lack of facilities for isolation, mental health, gynaecology, limited paediatric ED accommodation with significant resuscitation capacity to meet emergencies and trauma”, HSE documentation reads.

The ED has also fallen well short of national targets for Patient Experience Time – that 95% of all patients should be see or admitted or discharged within six hours and 100% within nine hours.

In UHG, the figures for 2020 were 13% and 44% respectively, due to what the HSE describes as “sub-optimal infrastructure, design and consequently poor patient flow and capacity limitations”.

The HSE also noted the existing Women’s and Children’s services operate from “poor quality, mainly single-storey buildings from 1950s and 1960s dispersed across the site with no direct access to the ED, isolated from vital healthcare services such as critical care, diagnostics and theatres”.

Theatre capacity was described as “inadequate” for UHG’s catchment of around 323,000 people from Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. The population for the wider Saolta University Healthcare Group, for which UHG is the tertiary or specialised care hospital, is estimated at 830,000.

The HSE said the new building would allow for a dedicated paediatric ward, adolescent beds (up to 16th birthday) and ambulatory facilities, “located closer to the critical medical infrastructure of the hospital”.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article and for details on the cause of a “foul odours” problem on the hospital grounds, see the March 24 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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