The removal of a public toilet in Killarney has resulted in people urinating on church grounds, bus loads of tourists overwhelming the facilities of a small hotel, and businesses being advised by gardaí to man their doors with security staff against a public desperate for toilet facilities, a meeting has been told.
The Killarney Municipal Authority heard graphic accounts of the problems faced by the Franciscan community, as well as the Royal Hotel and Jimmy O’Brien’s bar at the busy intersection, at Fair Hill, opposite the court house since the toilets were removed and a ‘social interaction space’ had been created.
Fr David Collins said the friary in Killarney had just one toilet, for churchgoers, but this was now being overwhelmed.
“Elderly church goers are nervous. People are urinating in our gardens and inside the friary wall,” he said.
But “more disturbing” for the friars was seeing people defecating and urinating on the graves of their dead, Fr David said.
People urinating in the friary grounds was the first thing visitors to Killarney came across, he added.
At night, the space where the toilets had once stood was simply a place for gangs to congregate and for skateboarding, he also said.
Claire Scally, manager of the Royal Hotel, told how her staff were being intimidated.
Summer time was out of control and bus drivers accustomed to the public toilets at Fair Hill pulled up outside their door simply to allow passengers to use the Royal’s toilet facilities.
Ms Scally said they refused 25 people on an average night and said gardaí have advised her to hire a bouncer seven nights a week, but the small, hotel did not want to project this kind of image.
Ms Scally says her staff are fearful of going outside after work as people who have been refused access to the toilets have jeered them. The period from 5pm to around 7pm was worst.
Court days had become almost unmanageable as the Killarney Courthouse which often hosted hundreds of people waiting around for hours for their cases, had no public toilets, business representatives said.
On a suggestion from Cllr Michael Gleeson, the local authority is now to write to the courts service urging them to make provision for a public toilet to facilitate their clients.
Prior to the meeting, councillors were told that a public toilet could cost up to €300,000. The latest toilet block in Killarney, at the jarvey stand, which included a store for horse feed, had cost €400,000.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved