Calls have been made for Belfast City Council to “deal with a major infestation of rats” at a south Belfast house where a young family live.
Alliance Councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown spoke out after it emerged a family has been struggling to deal with a plague of rats that has infested their rented home.
It has been reported that 18 rats have been caught and killed recently at the terraced property on Edinburgh Street, off Lisburn Road.
The family, which includes three young children, has said more rats are in and around the property.
“There has to be an immediate response because this is outrageous,” said Councillor McDonough-Brown.
“It is so wrong for a family to be staying in a house where rats run over their kids beds, as they claimed,” he added.
“On that basis the normal response time is not going to cut it. You cannot let people live like that.
“This is a rented house and from what I understand the tenants have it in very good order.”
The Alliance Councillor, who was made aware of the rats this morning, added: “This infestation needs to be sorted out so the people who live there can enjoy a good nights sleep. That would traumatise any child.”
The BBC has reported the landlord of the Edinburgh Street property has hired workmen to track down the rodents - but more have appeared.
“They’re eating the concrete floor in the kitchen, they’re eating through the cavity walls, they disconnected the electricity in the shower,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of time until the lights go out, we would think.”
A spokesman for Belfast City Council said: “We can confirm that this case was reported to the Council yesterday (Tuesday 12 April). We are committed to responding as soon as possible but, as there is a huge demand on our free pest control service, the caller was advised that it can take up to ten to 14 days.
“An appointment was scheduled at the beginning of next week – well within the advised timeline - and advice offered on action that could be taken in the interim.
“It should be pointed out that the Council has no statutory responsibility for dealing with rats; however, in the 12 months to the end of March 2016, we dealt with more than 2,700 requests for service and baited more than 12,200 manholes.”