College Green cafe bar plans shelved

Mon, Nov 21, 2011, 00:00

PLANS TO build a modern cafe bar at the traffic island in College Green have been shelved by Dublin City Council following the decision to go ahead with the crosscity Luas line.

Last December, the council had invited expressions of interest for the development of a bar with a take-away cafe at the junction of Westmoreland Street and College Street.

The development would be over the disused underground public toilets.

A successful bidder was chosen last May and was due to finalise agreement shortly with the city architects in relation to the design of the facility.

However, the council in recent days said negotiations with the chosen bidder had now come to a halt.

“Unfortunately in light of recent decisions made by the Department of Transport, we will now be unable to proceed with this plan,” the council said.

The council had been advised by the National Transport Authority that the traffic island over the toilets would be required for the development of the Luas BXD, which will connect the existing red and green Luas lines.

“Regrettably Dublin City Council has decided to end discussions with the interested party,” the council said.

The College Green toilets were one of nine staffed toilet facilities in the city closed by the council almost 20 years ago following Garda advice and public complaints relating to increasing anti-social problems, including drug abuse, prostitution and vandalism.

Unmanned automatic public conveniences were subsequently installed at Burgh Quay, but these were also closed for similar reasons.

There are no permanent public toilets in the city, although the council does provide portable toilets for men only at the weekend in an attempt to cut down on street urination.

In 2006 the council said it would examine the possibility of reopening the College Green facilities, following pressure from councillors. The following year a plan was devised to refurbish the toilets and install CCTV cameras at a cost of €800,000, but it never came to fruition.

The council said earlier this year that it had no budget for permanent toilet facilities, and portable conveniences would be the only type of toilet provided across the city for the foreseeable future. It said it had no plans to provide toilets for women, as it did not experience problems with women urinating on the city streets.

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.

The council said it was not in a position to reveal the name of the party interested in running the cafe bar.

The toilets are inaccessible at present and will be permanently covered over by the new Luas line, construction of which is due to begin in 2015.