Tourism hopes being undermined by public toilet saga, meeting hears

Cllr PJ Reilly and Cllr Micheal Carrigy believe the toilet facilities at Dring car park should be re-opened. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
Longford’s tourism potential is being undermined because of a long-running issue at one of north Longford’s most popular destinations. last week’s meeting of Granard Municipal District heard.

Longford’s tourism potential is being undermined because of a long-running issue at one of north Longford’s most popular destinations. last week’s meeting of Granard Municipal District heard.

One by one, councillors at the meeting hit out at the HSE’s decision to close public toilet facilities at Dring Car Park.

That decision was made after officials deemed the water to be below standard and not fit for human consumption.

Almost two years on, a lock and chain still hangs over the facility.

Fianna Fail’s PJ Reilly led calls for council chiefs to resolve the impasse by investing in a private well.

“Two years ago, the public toilets were closed because the water was not up to drinking standard,” he outlined to his fellow locally elected representatives.

“This is one of the finest amenities in our area.

“It’s very discomforting for families who go there for picnics and the like only to find the toilets there are boarded up.

“The facility is there since the early 60s and it’s unfortunate this decision had to be taken.”

He was supported by Fine Gael Cllr Micheal Carrigy.

Cllr Carrigy said it was his understanding the issue had been earmarked for closer insepction this year.

That came, he said, after talks were held with a senior executive within Longford County Council.

“It looks poorly on us as a local authority. It needs to be dealt with immediately,” he said.

Acting Director of Services, Tom Murtagh said the possibility of drilling a well was beyond the f inancial reach of the Council at this stage.

He said an analysis on the overall cost would be disclosed to councillors at its next meeting, but warned the total bill could reach as high as €10,000.

“Significant funding would be required there as we would have to put in a high quality water system and all the maintenance that goes with that,” he said.

It was a response which drew an irritated reaction from Cllr Reilly.

“I accept what you are saying that there is no funding. But that doesn’t mean the problem will go away. The problem won’t go away,” he bluntly put it.

Cllr Carrigy followed likewise as he pushed for money to be drawn from next year’s budget to alleviate the problem.

“I think we look ridiculous if we don’t get this done in the next couple of months,” he said.

“There are scouts groups coming down from Dublin, walking groups coming down to Derrycassin (Woods) and fishermen using it.

“If we are realistic about promoting our county and improving the facilities we have, it just needs to be done.”