Taxpayer Spending

Louth loos costing taxpayer a pretty penny

Figures obtained by the Democrat show big spending on public conveniences.

Barry Landy

Reporter:

Barry Landy

Email:

barry.landy@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Louth loos costing taxpayer a pretty penny

Louth loos costing taxpayer a pretty penny

The maintenance of three public toilets in Dundalk, Drogheda and Ardee have cost the local taxpayer almost €110,000 since 2016.

The public conveniences – located at Roden Place in Dundalk, Market Square in Ardee and George’s Street in Drogheda – are run and maintained by Louth County Council.

But new figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request lodged with the local authority by the Dundalk Democrat show that the cost associated with the toilets come at a sizeable expense to the taxpayer.

This is despite the toilets appearing to be scarcely used – with those needing to go to the bathroom seemingly choosing other alternatives in the town centres.

Of the three toilets, the convenience in Dundalk located at Roden Place is the only Automated Public Convenience, meaning it is the only one which takes in revenue on an ongoing basis.

It costs €0.25 to use the toilet. The toilets in Drogheda and Ardee are free to use.

The figures show that the council has spent a total of €109,982.18 on maintaining the three public toilets since January 2016. Remarkably, €73,403.98 of that figure has been on the Roden Place toilet alone.

The money is spent on regular cleaning, provision of consumables such as soap and toilet paper, maintenance contracts and electricity as well as cleaning up instances of vandalism. In late 2016, the Roden Place toilets were closed for a time due to vandalism.

In 2012, the former Dundalk Town Council closed public toilets at St Helena’s Park and the Demesne in Dundalk due to health and security factors. Gardai had specifically requested that the Demesne toilets be closed.

Those closures dramatically reduced the costs of maintaining toilets in Dundalk. €120,000 was saved year-on-year between 2012 and 2013 after the two closures.

In terms of revenue, €2,552.95 has been taken in by the authority from charges for using the Roden Place toilet – a drop in the ocean compared to what is being spent annually. The council spends the equivalent of €93.87 a day on maintaining the Roden Place toilets.

€25,802.85 has been spent on the public toilet in Ardee since January 1st 2016.

Last year, councillors heard that the toilets at Gyles Quay, Dundalk was to receive funding to refurbish the dilapidated toilet at the popular beach area regularly frequented in the summer.