Spending a penny is costing taxpayers less

Spending a penny in the public toilet at Roden Place last year in Dundalk has proved to be a very costly business, but overall the cost of public toilets in Dundalk has been greatly reduced.

According to the latest figures from Dundalk Town Council, the operating costs for 2013 for the Roden Place public toilet was was €32,293.28.

This amount includes maintenance contract and electricity.

However, the income generated was just €953.15, which means a €31,340.13 went down the loo last year.

The good news is that this figure is a significant reduction compared to previous years.

The closure of public toilets at St Helena’s Park and the Demesne has reduced the costs from €152,000 in 2012 to the 2013 figure of €32,000.

Council officials closed those two toilets based on health and security reasons as well as the cost factor.

The gardai had specifically requested that the one at the Demesne be closed.

Although the costs of maintenance is significant, members of the Dundalk Town Council have pointed out that the toilet is not a money making service.

“This is a public service,” said chairman Eamon O’Boyle,

“It is not going to make money. It is very important that it is available.

“The service is valuable to the community and also for the disabled.

I spoke to people in Blackrock and they don’t like having to use a public house to go to the toilet.”

He added that there were considerable hidden costs involved in the operation of such a facility.

Green Party Cllr Marianne Butler welcomed the reduction.

“I welcome the reduction in maintenance costs,” she said. “There is a cost factor, but tourists expect to have public toilet available.”

Sinn Fein Cllr Jennifer Greene said that it is a catch twenty-two situation and a service that is needed.

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