Tenders for the rollout of toilets as part of new cafe or retail kiosks across Dublin, instead of portaloos, have resulted in offers of just six facilities to Dublin City Council.
None of the new kiosks were in place by the deadline of June 30th set by the council for their operations to start, with the first of the six not due to be in place before mid-July.
The facilities, which would be permitted to use public lands free of charge for at least three years free of charge, would have been an alternative to portaloos which have been installed around the city by the council amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The tender, advertised by the council last April, offered operators three-year contracts, with the option to renew for a further two years, to set up kiosks selling items such as coffee, ice cream or flowers if they also provide self-contained public toilets.
The toilets had to be “fully integrated into the retail unit”, the tender documents states. “Portaloos or other temporary toilets adjacent to the retail unit are not acceptable,” it said.
The providers would not have to pay any fees to the council for using the public space. The council said “this will be a cost-neutral operation, with Dublin City Council neither making nor receiving a payment from the operator”.
The tender required the facilities to be “in place and fully operational by 30th June”.
However, the council said the first of these facilities, in Griffith Park between Glasnevin and Drumcondra, will be in place in the coming weeks, with a second at Albert College Park, beside Dublin City University, in place in "approximately a month".
The remaining four at Portobello, beside the Iveagh Gardens on Clonmel Street, in Sandymount and at the Clontarf promenade "are hoped to be in situ in the coming months", the council said.
“We were hoping for more,” Coilín O’Reilly, head of Dublin City Council’s city recovery strategy said.
“It was an ambitious timeframe, so I think we have done well to get the first on site in the middle of July.”
All the chosen facilities will be associated with cafes, rather than other retail, and all the toilets will be fully accessible, Mr O’Reilly said.
The toilet rollout plan was one of the first initiatives of the council’s new office of city recovery established last April. The council had already erected temporary toilets at St Stephen’s Green and Wolfe Tone Square, and subsequently installed portaloos after it came under political pressure to respond to street drinking in the city.