Sounding The Alarm



As I sit here in my apartment, the persistent shrieking of a nearby house alarm that started eight hours ago continues to destroy the peace of the weekend. With the owners away and no way of communicating with them, there is little I can do about this situation short of trespass and vandalism.

Although legally all house alarms should have a maximum external alarm duration of 15 minutes, in reality very few meet this standard, and the Garda is essentially powerless unless evidence of repeated and persistent instances of noise pollution are brought before a judge.

In other countries, house alarm standards might be enforced, or officers of the law might be empowered to act when faced with a clear case of noise pollution.

In Ireland, however, we just shrug our shoulders and lament the inefficiency of our country. While I acknowledge that, typically, issues of greater import are discussed on this page, it is noteworthy that with each passing hour I can feel my vote increasingly promised to the first politician that pledges to solve this simple but recurrent and distressing problem.

Colin Davenposrt,

Dublin 9.

House alarms and noise pollution (Irish Times letter)


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61 thoughts on “Sounding The Alarm

    1. Disasta

      Same. Since I moved to the sticks its a far less common thing to hear. When I go back to Dublin it does my head in.

    2. Spaghetti Hoop

      Oh me too.
      Serious noise pollution.
      Taxi horns after midnight was another angst – they would honk to the heavens rather than knock on a door or text.

      1. 15 cents

        yea i get that in my estate too, and it could be 3am, 4am, any time, airport lifts and so on, theyll just beep away.

        1. Spaghetti Hoop

          I recall a law about no honking between 11pm and 7am. It’s trivial I know – I thought everyone had that bit of quiet respect in a sleeping neighborhood (but with an occasional party of taxi-travellin’ revellers) not to be honkin’. I think my particular Taxi Drivers at the time thought the whole estate were honky tonkin’ and so honked away. The laugh the Guards had at me when I called them about it.

    3. Major Thrill

      Years ago when I lived in Rialto there was an alarm going off a few doors down from me. It started friday night and went on all through Saturday and Sunday. The Gardai were called, they couldn’t get through to the landlord so there was nothing they could do.
      Then at around 11pm on Sunday night I heard the distant yet unmistakable sound of an aluminium ladder scraping on the ground and bumping against a wall before a half dozen sharp cracks rang out over the street and silence was restored.

      Godspeed you midnight alarm murdering Batman, wherever you may be.

      1. dan

        “Prove it”, childish comment of the day. You prove me wrong.

        The proof is in the listening. Alarms don’t go off much nowadays because the industry has gotten it’s act together and by and large removed the cowboys. When they do go off the external sounders tend to stop within the allotted time.
        There’s one exception, internal alarms can ring forever so people in apartments or terraced housing will hear the sirens go on for days if no-one’s home.

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          I asked if you could back up what you said. Whether you have a link to share, or perhaps you own an alarm company, or maybe you have anecdotal evidence. That was all. It wasn’t an attack, it was a question.

          I am not going to attempt to prove you wrong. You could have pulled the statement out of your arse. It’s up to you to prove your statement is accurate.

          1. dan

            As no stats are collected it’s impossible to prove. As someone who works in the Industry I can tell you that the incidence of faulty alarms has dropped considerably over the last few years. In addition, the increasing market share by alarm companies and manufacturers who don’t provide external sounders would suggest that the issue is decreasing.

            How about broadsheet run an article comparing the amount of local taxation paid in the UK and Ireland and the services provided by the local authorities in return,
            Tee UK pay council tax which covers a multitude of services including noise investigation and prosecution.
            We pay property tax, bin charges, water charges, and get no services in return.

            The issue isn’t the noisy alarm, it’s the fact that there’s feck all you can do about it.

          2. mildred st. meadowlark

            Thanks for such a comprehensive reply. As I said before, I wasn’t looking to have a go, just wanted to know the context of your comment, so to speak.

            I agree with you entirely as regards the taxes. I’ve a cousin living in England, paying mad taxes but it’s worth it, she says, because of the fact that the services actually work.

  1. The People's Hero

    What’s even worse are the indoor alarms as they never disarm automatically…. I thoroughly sympathies with any and all that’s experienced this nightmare… A heavy fine and prosecution for repeat offenders should be a minimum.

  2. Clampers Outside!

    Baseball bat.

    Think about it. An alarm going off for hours and everyone is mad. If any of those people saw you going hell for leather with a bat to the alarm, I dont think anyone would report you… go for it !

      1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

        Would you rather have long bat arms or arms made of long bats?

  3. Ronan

    If you report it to the local authority, they will write to the householder. Don’t know what the further sanctions are. This was something the Greens planned to bring in legislation for.

  4. joj

    This is a real issue in our urban areas, I’ve had scumbag neighbours LEAVE THE ALARM ON PURPOSE while the house was vacated, ‘as a security measure’ as in ringing the whole weekend they were away

    Alarms firstly are pointless, no one who hears them thinks, oh someone could be robbing the neighbours, no one cares about your home security, a silent alarm which contacts you remotely is the only actual security measure.

    All house alarms must be silent or not go off more than 15 minutes within a 24hr period. not 15 minutes every hour or on 1 hour and off for 30. I always find it worse during windy weather when people with shoddy setups

  5. Medium Sized C

    A Chara,

    I have a problem with something.

    It is a symptom of Ireland and in Ireland we are absolute gits because we Irish people somehow make or accept this problem as a nation, no matter how absurd that this assertion is. Blah blah.

    Is Mise

    A.N. Idiot.

      1. classter

        He is pointing out that when we complain about things, we seem to feel the need to add that the problem exists because the Irish are so shoddy.

        By doping so, we make problems more difficult to solve.

        The vague, unsubstantiated allusion to the better approach in ‘other countries’ is unnecessary & distracts from the problem A.N. Idiot wants solved.

      2. Medium Sized C

        You can tell from how I didn’t say either of those things nor anything that might be construed as either of those things.

  6. 15 cents

    place i used to live had a guy on the same street whos alarm was goin off literally every time he wasnt there. if he went away for the weekend, it would go off all weekend until he came back sunday night. if he went out durin the week for some reason, same. i told the cops and not only did they not care, but they seemed annoyed by me bringing their attention to it. so i wrote a note and put it in the guys letterbox, telling him whats happening, and told him that if it keeps happening id be poppin over to the scumbags a few streets over and tellin them that his alarm goin off means he’s not there, and that if they dont take advantage of it, i would. it worked.

  7. pissedasanewt

    I had a problem with the neighbors smoke alarm. A rental property that lay idle for a month over Christmas and the battery in the smoke alarm went dead so it started to chirp. The management company couldn’t contact the owner and only managed the estate and not the individual apartments so didn’t have access anyway.

    So every 30 seconds.. chirp, chirp, then after two weeks the other smoke alarm went dead, so every 15 seconds.. chirp.. cheap, chirp.. cheap.. my girlfriend couldn’t hear it, but I completely tuned into it. Especially at night when in bed… so i had to wear ear plugs and then one day it stopped.. OMG, the joy.

    1. Hank

      “Quiet effective”
      Even though I don’t think you meant it, that was quite inspired..

  8. ahjayzis

    That’s nothing.

    The filth living in the flat above mine have recently splashed out on some fancy hardwood flooring.

    I know this because the tight c***ting w****ing SCUM are clearly too cheap to have invested in an underlay of any kind. I can hear EVERYTHING, and they apparently have about 15 kids and like to fupp marbles around the place and wear fupping dancing clogs, it’s like living under a bowling alley and it’s FOREVER >_< *

    *until I burn the scum out.

      1. ahjayzis

        We’re private, they’re council. They can get away with murder.

        The previous tenant in there flooded his kitchen once a month, soaking our light fittings and ruining our carpets – and nada, nothing to be done.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          Ah. In that case… my friend had a similar situation and called the council – they forced the neighbour to put in carpet. Worth a shot?

          1. ahjayzis

            Ooooh that might work… Even a rug would dampen it a bit.

            They installed it themselves… and worked til midnight with fupping hammers >_<

            I might get the landlady to get on to the council so!

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Only one thing for it. Strap large speakers to your ceiling and put a donk on it

      1. ahjayzis

        I blasted a few loops of Spotify’s finest “80’s Training Montage” playlist at the ceiling for several hours on Friday and Saturday night. TBH though they won’t hear anything above the din their larvae make.

    1. Conski

      Do something about it. Contact management or something.
      I’ve hit them up on Twitter for local issues in the past…

      1. D2dweller

        I did. Popped in and was meant with the gomiest lad I’ve ever seen. I would have been as well politely asking the alarm o turn itself off

  9. Zarathustra

    I feel for Mr Davenport, a dripping tap or a ticking clock has the same effect on me, but tinnitus is by far the worst and there’s no getting away from it :(

  10. Eoin

    Yeah. They’re a constant problem in my neighbourhood too. It’s like an alarm shrieking ‘Empty house here! Come and burgle me! Gardai aren’t interested!!’

  11. The Old Boy

    The best response to this sort of thing I saw was in a provincial town where the words “ALARM NUISANCE” were daubed in white gloss paint several times across the front of a house.

  12. H

    In the UK noise problems are dealt with by the local council who can ask the police to escort them on to a premises to deal with any noise if necessary, you can call them out any time day or night and they will sort it out. We never have the problems with alarms you are describing, but I do still have strong memories of it when I was still in Dublin and it would do your head in.

  13. Tish Mahorey

    “While I acknowledge that, typically, issues of greater import are discussed on this page”

    Waaaahh ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  14. Karen

    I feel you, Rialto is just a series of horrible alarms going off my apartment block being the main culprit. The most unbearably loud indoor alarms that go off for all hours at all hours, it’s awful.

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