Dublin City Council issues tender for public toilets

Local authority wants the lavatories to be established within new retail units

 Dublin City Council has issued a tender for public toilets. File photograph: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

Dublin City Council has issued a tender for public toilets. File photograph: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images


Dublin City Council has issued a tender for public toilets – but it does not want to spend a penny on them.

The new loos would be established in new retail units by “concessionaires” – and must be in place by the end of June 2021 at the latest.

These units would involve temporary structures with integrated toilet facilities.

The urgency surrounding the provision of these toilets is understood to relate to the closure – due to Covid 19 – of hotels, bars and shopping centres, the traditional places where Dubliners have gone “to spend a penny”.

The “spend a penny” expression dates from the time when public toilets were provided at a user cost of one penny and were provided by all local authorities as a matter of public hygiene.

This time, however, Dublin City Council’s “Office of City Recovery” envisages the new lavatories would be developed by holders of retail units. The toilets would be for the use of the public in “high-profile and high footfall, non-residential, locations”.

The council said the pilot project would be for three years, with the option to renew for a further two years.

While the new toilets would be of a higher standard than portable loos of the nature that are often found at pop concerts, “no permanent structures would be allowed” in the provision of the retail units with integrated toilet facilities, the council said.

“The toilet provision must be fully integrated into the retail unit. Portaloos or other temporary toilets adjacent to the retail unit are not acceptable,” the council said in a statement.

Accessible and serviced

Such a unit must be in place and fully operational by June 30th, 2021, and it must provide an accessible, serviced and clean public convenience to all members of the public when it is open.

The city council insists it will have no responsibility for the provision of fresh water or electricity for the units.

Other rules include:

– The toilets must be managed by the concessionaire through the relevant agency,

– The unit must not contravene Covid-19 public health guidelines in its operation,

– Bins and cleaning the area adjacent to the unit will be the responsibility of the concessionaire, and

– No tobacco, alcohol, prescribed substance or illicit goods may be sold.

The council added: “It is envisaged that this will be a cost neutral operation [for the council], with Dublin City Council neither making nor receiving a payment from the operator.”

The closing date for the invitation to tender is May 14th, 2021, at noon.