Health fears close Forty Foot loo -- after 147 years

Geraldine Gittens

IT'S yet another case of Health and Safety gone barmy as the toilet which has served male swimmers at the Forty Foot for 147 years has been closed down.

Bathers at the popular spot are furious that the urinal was shut by the HSE without consultation.

Men and women who use the bathing area in Sandycove, Dublin, have been lodging complaints with the HSE following the closure.

Female swimmers say men are now going to the toilet in the open air, while the male swimmers say they've no alternative.

Following health and safety concerns and repeated complaints, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council boarded up the convenience in March.

But locals have been rallying for it to be reopened, or for a proper facility to be put in place.

Cllr Cormac Devlin said: "There's one portaloo now which is an eight-minute walk from the Forty Foot and I believe it only has about ten flushes a day, and then it goes out of order."

Members of the Sandycove Bathers Association cleaned the urinal with bleach on a daily basis and put in their best efforts to stop any smells, said Cllr Devlin.

"They feel that the council hasn't heard their side of the argument."

Meanwhile, some swimmers say the urinal was unhygienic and they support the closure.

Cllr Jane Dillon Byrne said: "A couple of people have been moaning and groaning about it but the council has provided a disabled toilet which everyone can use."

"This was a four foot wall in a crescent shape. You piddled on the rocks and it went into the sea. It was contrary to EU regulations and it couldn't continue like that. The [HSE] decided that it was unhealthy, it was unhygienic and it was unsightly."

Meanwhile, a council spokesperson said complaints were made to the HSE who instructed to the Bathing Association to remove the unit. She added that the Council had no direct involvement.