June 3, 1989.
“They were the same as hens on hot griddles looking to relieve themselves somewhere,” exclaimed Commissioner Richie Graham at Portlaoise Town Commission’s monthly meeting last week.
He had told of how seven buses, carrying 110 people, had stopped in the car park on a recent Monday. The people could not get into the public toilets - they had nowhere to go.
Commr Graham seconded Commr Joe Dunne’s proposal calling for the seven-day opening of the toilets during the summer. (At present the convenience is closed on Sundays and Mondays).
Commr Willie Aird proposed that National Lottery funds should be sought to help with the operating costs of the toilets.
“We are in a desperate situation,” he added.
But Commr Graham disagreed with this course of action. He said the National Lottery was used to fund sporting, educational and cultural activities.
“Does the opening of a toilet come in under the cultural end of it?” he asked.
Instead he proposed that immediate action should be taken to investigate the possibility of charging for the use of the public convenience. Commr Liam Breen seconded.
Commr Joe Dunne said it would be a great help if the public toilets could be open every day of the week in the period May to September. A lot of festivals and events were about to take place in Portlaoise.
Commr Graham noted that every commissioner had put down motions on the subject - meeting after meeting - but there was still no action. The county council would have to make up their minds to open the toilets, at least on Mondays. The present situation was not good enough.
Commr Tony Dunne said he couldn’t see any bother about having the convenience open on seven days is the county council passed it.
“They’re the people responsible for it,” he added.
Cllr Aird said Laois County Council did not have the money to keep the public toilets in Portlaoise open seven days a week.