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Open-door loo plan? It's an inconvenience say city firms

Businesses in Dublin's city centre have given the thumbs-down to a voluntary scheme that would allow the public to use their toilets.

Extra public toilets are urgently needed -- but there are no funds to build them.

Toilets have been a long-standing problem since the city closed public facilities some years ago.

Dublin City Council wants a scheme where city centre businesses would allow non-customers to use their toilets.

However the Dublin City Business Improvement District (BID) said that while it would support a public-private partnership to build new public toilets, it is against the stop-gap proposal. BID represents over 2,500 businesses in the capital and works to develop and promote the city centre for shoppers and tourists.

The organisation's chief executive, Richard Guiney, told the Herald: "We don't welcome the proposal. We did a very good straw poll of about 30 businesses today and no one expressed any enthusiasm for the project."

Mr Guiney said the scheme would hoist further costs on to already struggling businesses.

"Firstly, there's the cost -- every time the loo is flushed it adds to water rates. Then there are insurance issues. You'd have to staff these toilets full time.

"There are also maintenance costs, chemicals and toilet roll. The average cost per use for a toilet is €1."

He said the scheme in London, on which the council proposal is based, operates under very different circumstances, as businesses were given cash to cover basic costs.

"Businesses which participated were given grants to open their toilets to the public. Boris Johnston then introduced it to the rest of London in 2008. But London already has 400 public toilets."


The business group said the scheme would be like putting a 'sticking plaster on a dam' as the need for proper public facilities is too great.

"Toilets in pubs and restaurants in Dublin are already operating to full capacity, and the greatest need for toilets is between 11.30 and 12.30 at night, when businesses are closed and men find themselves caught short," said Mr Guiney.