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Dublin: 14°C Friday 30 July 2021

Vast majority of portable loos removed from Dublin city centre due to 'lack of use'

The toilets near Grafton Street and Wolfe Tone Square remain.

Portaloos near Dame Court in Dublin city centre in June of this year.
Portaloos near Dame Court in Dublin city centre in June of this year.
Image: Eamonn Farrell via RollingNews.ie

THE MAJORITY OF portable public toilets have been removed from Dublin city centre due to a “lack of use”. 

Dublin City Council installed over a hundred of the portable loos around the city at the start of June ahead of the reopening of outdoor hospitality as the good weather brought people into the city to socialise. 

It following criticism of a lack of facilities in the capital to allow people to socialise outdoors in line with public health guidelines.

However, the council said this week that demand for the toilets had plummeted since the reopening of outdoor hospitality. 

As a result, most of the portable loos have now been removed. Slightly more permanent shipping container-based toilet blocks at Grafton Street on the southside and at Wolfe Tone Square to the north of the Liffey. 

Asked why the toilets were removed, a spokesperson for the council said:

“The toilets at these locations were removed due to lack of use by members of the public.

“Usage figures at all Dublin City Council’s public toilet facilities, both temporary and permanent, are monitored on a daily basis. It became apparent that the limited usage figures did not justify continued provision.”

The toilet blocks at both Grafton Street and Wolfe Tone Square remain in place. However, usage figures at Grafton Street have dropped from 19,000 people per week to under 10,000 people per week. The council said these toilets will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Screenshot 2021-07-15 5.06.34 PM Public toilets at Wolfe Tone Square. Source: Dublin City Council

The council said the majority of people coming to the city centre are coming” to engage in retail or hospitality businesses”.

“A significant number of these businesses provide toilet facilities for their customers. Dublin City Council has committed to finding a longer term permanent solution to public toilet provision in the City over the coming months.”

Green Party councillor Michael Pidgeon said that there must be a combination of facilities dotted across Dublin city centre which will appeal to all people. 

“It was the right decision to put the toilets in in the first place. There was a clear demand but they are expensive for the council to maintain. It’s not really the portable loos themselves but the security and cleaning aspects of them.

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“They are not that accessible either. I think a lot of us might have been to festivals and we might not have the best association with portable loos. They’re not exactly the nicest place on Earth. I understand why they are being taken back. But we have to look at what we want the city to look like in the immediate future.”

Pidgeon said the council is currently discussing various models for public toilets. He said the mix of private and public toilets is what is being discussed.

“It’s okay to have different approaches. There might be some kiosks and cafes which offer toilets for free, some might have a small charge like 50c or something.

“Then there might be others, privately run ones, where you pay €1 or €2 and you are guaranteed a spotless, nice facility. Giving people that choice is the main thing and not letting people get caught short.”

Earlier this year, Dublin City Council issued a tender for a pilot project involving temporary retail units such as coffee docks providing toilets in high-footfall, non-residential parts of the city. 

Meanwhile, libraries and sports centres across Dublin city which opened their toilet facilities in late April are still available for the public to use. 

A full list of available locations is here

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