Dublin Toilets to Discriminate Against Women
PORTABLE TOILETS for men only are being provided in Dublin city at weekends to cut down on “street urination” following the closure of all other public conveniences in the city. Anyone who has been out and about on the weekends in Dublin, Galway, Cork or any other large urban area on a Friday or Saturday night will know that women are just as likely if not more so to urinate in public places. The ritual of women dropping against a shop wall or along the kerb to relieve themselves is as common as the age old stand up against the wall for men. Is Dublin City Council in denial of the fact that women ‘P’ in public or is it the case that those middle-class administrators and policy formers in Dublin City Council don’t actually live or socialise in Dublin City. Is it the case that the nice middle-class administrators at Dublin City Council drive into Dublin, park in their FREE underground parking, take the lift to their fancy offices, and return to the leafy lanes of Castleknock each evening to the sound of security gates and demanding alarm codes?
Dublin City Council is spending about €50,000 a year to provide men’s toilets at two locations in the city, on Camden Street and Westmoreland Street. The toilets are being provided on a pilot basis. However, a spokeswoman for the council said portable toilets would be the type of toilet provided across the city for the foreseeable future, as the council had no budget for permanent facilities. The expansion of the service to other parts of the city will depend on available finance.
The council is currently providing one six-man urinal on Camden Street and two six-man urinals on Westmoreland Street on Friday and Saturday nights in order to cut the high levels of street urination in these areas.
“The council provides these facilities to help alleviate the problem of people urinating in public – and against business premises particularly – at weekends,” the spokeswoman said.
All permanent public toilets, several of which were in underground locations, have been shut, she said.
“There are no permanent facilities available in the city. Public toilet facilities were closed in recent years due to serious health- and-safety concerns for both public and council staff.”
Public toilets had been frequented by intravenous drug users, with resulting discarded needles posing a health risk.
The type of toilet currently being provided by the council is for use by men only.
Dublin City Council said it had no plans to provide toilets for women, as it did not experience problems with women urinating on the city streets.
Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said he knew of no other modern European city that did not provide permanent public toilets.
“I’m aware [of] and I appreciate the problems associated with public toilets, but every other city in the rest of Europe seems to manage to provide proper public conveniences,” he said.
He was seeking the removal of the temporary toilets and their replacement by permanent ones.
“These so-called temporary toilets have become permanent fixtures at the weekend,” Mr Flynn added. “They are unsightly and unsavoury and out of place in a cosmopolitan city.”
Many bars had significantly boosted their capacity by turning yards at the rear of their premises into smoking areas but had not increased the number of toilets provided, thereby exacerbating the problem of street urination, Mr Flynn said.
This issue should be dealt with through the planning laws, but the council should be providing proper permanent toilets for the convenience of the citizens of Dublin and visitors alike.
Public toilets were to have been provided by advertising company JC Decaux as part of the deal for the Dublin bike-rental scheme. However, this clause was removed from the final contract.
Mr Flynn said a significant expansion of the scheme was planned and provision of toilets should be reintroduced as part of new contracts.
“The response I’ve had from the council management is that they have no budget for public toilets.
“The bike deal was the ideal opportunity to address that and they did not. As a result, the streets of Dublin are being used as toilets. It has just become the norm.
“I want Dublin City Council to at least acknowledge that there is an urgent need for a policy on public conveniences and how to deal with the phenomenon of outdoor urination.”
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