A contract with the company providing the toilets ensures Ennis Town Council will spend over €480,000 between 2011 and 2017.
The council’s annual financial statement shows a spend of €69,407 last year on the toilets, but it received only €3,158 in income.
Speaking yesterday, Cllr Brian Meaney claimed that the council was “flushing money down the toilet” by paying out a high amount with so little return.
“The council is in a very sticky situation at the moment from a financial point of view and is facing the prospect of cutting back on services. I think it would be prudent to decommission one of the superloos to lower the council’s exposure to the high costs of providing these public toilets.
“It currently costs 25 cents to use the toilet and I believe the council should increase the cost of going to the toilet to €1.
“That would generate additional revenues in what is a very expensive service to provide.”
However, Cllr Johnny Flynn said the spend on the toilets was less than what would be spent on providing two traditional toilets.
Cllr Paul O’Shea asked should the town council investigate the possibility of securing better value for money for the toilets.
Cllr Peter Considine (FF) said that the superloos should be retained, stating that they were of enormous benefit to Ennis.
Town manager Ger Dollard said the finances relating to the provision of the toilets have improved as the council now secures VAT back on its expenditure, which would be far higher than the VAT on its income.
He said the former traditional toilets were the subject of constant complaints and did not meet hygiene standards. Mr Dollard insisted the toilets represent good value for money and noted other towns have similar agreements.
Meanwhile, Cllr Meaney’s call to reduce the number of toilets may be blocked by the council’s contractual obligations which run until 2017 with JCDecaux Ireland Ltd.
Two years ago, members of Kilrush Town Council investigated the possibility of breaking its own contract with a related company, but the costs of ending the 20-year contract were too high.
JCDecaux has contracts for superloos with councils across the country. In its most recent accounts, it recorded a pre-tax loss of €65,252 on revenues of €14.6 million in 2009.
This followed the company recording pre-tax profits of €2m on revenues of €17.7m in 2008.