Laois county council will spend €41,000 in 2018 on its public conveniences, but the county town’s toilets may remain closed.
Portlaoise's only public toilets in Lyster Square in the town centre, have been closed for the last six months.
They were closed over safety concerns by Laois County Council, over “how they were used and who was using them”.
Hearing the breakdown of Laois County Council’s budget last Monday November 13, Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said there was little money for public toilets.
“I don’t see much in the budget. What’s the plan? A lot of shop owners are asking me, because customers are coming in asking them. This is important for Portlaoise,” Cllr Fitzgerald said.
Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley wondered if portaloos would end up in the square.
“Give some explanation on this, I’ve been approached by the public as well. We were told after they closed that a small amount of money would put it right. If there are other problems surely we can have a meeting about it. We fought for years to get public toilets. I’m not going to accept this. They are closed since summer with no idea of when they are going to be reopened or if. We are the fastest growing town in the midlands. Are we going to be left with portaloos?,” she said.
The Director of Services of water Donal Brennan wants them kept closed.
“There is no money in the budget for their reopening. There is only a small bit for closing them and doing some work,” he said.
He said there were “safety issues”.
“We had some safety issues so we closed it. I am not advising that it be reopened. There were issues on design. How they were being used and who was using them,” he said.
Cllr Jerry Lodge suggests that the redesign of Lyster Square which is underway, should include upgrading the toilets.
“Every one of us has spoken about this. The capital town should have public toilets, whatever it costs,” he said.
“The public toilet in Mountrath is open for business,” noted Cllr James Kelly.