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Dunne axes hairdryers at men's gyms

GYM goers have been left steaming after Ben Dunne ordered the removal of hairdryers from his leisure clubs.

But the drastic action was not prompted by a Ryanair-style cost-cutting drive.

Instead, Mr Dunne took the decision after witnessing male customers using the dryers "down around their private parts", he told the Herald.

The former Dunnes Stores boss ordered the items to be removed from the men's changing rooms at his chain of gyms.

The women's locker rooms have not been affected.

Mr Dunne was unapologetic about the move and is even considering doing away with hand dryers as well. When asked about the action, he said it was "for purely health reasons".

"You can buy a dryer for ¤10 or ¤15 and I have seen loads of people using them, not on their hair, but on other parts of their body," Mr Dunne said.

"Someone else would come up afterwards and they wouldn't know where it had been used," he added.

"I made a decision and threw them out of every male changing room".

He said he has a "very simple" solution for anybody who does not like the policy -- they can have their money back.

Customers of his gyms, including the ones at Santry, Blanchardstown and Sandyford, also bring their own towels.

Mr Dunne said no towel service is provided as they could not be cleaned to a high enough standard to ensure the safety of members.

He added: "When you see people using a hairdryer in other parts of their bodies and then putting it back, there is no way you can allow that to go on in any business. I will not allow that to go on in my business."

Asked what he meant, he said: "I mean down around their private parts. On numerous occasions I have seen it happen."

Mr Dunne added: "Ninety-nine per cent of members agree with me because they have seen it happen. I'd advise all other leisure clubs who have men's hairdryers to get rid of them because for hygiene reasons it's not clever."

He dismissed the notion that signs could have acted as a deterrent.

Mr Dunne said: "Any gym that I have and all the new ones I'm opening will have no hairdryers in the men's changing rooms. I'm thinking of doing away with hand dryers [because] they're very unhygienic as well."

He denied the move had anything to do with saving on electricity bills.

"If it was to save electricity, I would take the plugs out so they could not plug in their dryers," he said.