Date Published: 19-May-2011
BY CAROLINE WHELAN
Galway County Council is paying a private company €75,000 a year to maintain two public toilets – which between them bring in just over €1,000 a year.
The Council charges 50c to use either of the two single unisex automated facilities, located in Vicar Street in Tuam and in the Fairgreen in Loughrea, and the revenue taken in for both toilets since they were installed in 2007 amounts to little over €5,000.
But the local authority has revealed that each facility costs €37,500 per annum to maintain. The self flushing units are cleaned on a daily basis and it’s ensured that they are always stocked with toilet paper and soap. It’s also estimated that a superloo can cost anything up to €100,000 to install, factoring in the initial cost of plumbing, sewerage and electrical services on top of the facility itself.
Councillor Bridie Willers who represents the Loughrea Electoral area, described the cost as ‘ludicrous’, and said it was time the Council revisited the contract.
“I will be making further inquiries about this. The income the facilities is generating is very small. It’s an absurd figure for maintenance; it makes no sense whatsoever, we have to go back to the drawing board here. You would imagine that if that contract was put out to tender again, there would be many local contractors who would snap it up and be prepared to do the work at a more reasonable rate,” she said.
But the Ardrahan based councillor acknowledged the individual units are extremely expensive to acquire.
“We had hoped that they would be partially self financing but that has obviously not been the case. There is absolutely no point closing them down for the money they cost to construct in the first place, but I would expect that the price to maintain them would be considerably less. We’re in straightened times and every penny that can be saved must be saved,” she said.
With regards to public conveniences in Galway city, the city council has also tendered out the maintenance work to a private company that is used by 90 local authorities around the country. The local authority is shelling out €137,000 for the maintence of eleven superloos at five different locations.
There are seven public toilets around Salthill with a number of units located in Blackrock, Ladies Beach and Palmers Rock and in the city there are facilities at the Millennium Park on University Road and in Eyre Square. There is a charge of 20 cent to use the amenities and on average they bring in around €16,000 per annum in revenue.
A City Council spokesperson said the superloos are an essential service that the council must provide to the public. He believed it was mostly tourists using the conveniences and that they would tend to be used a lot more during the summer, he also added that to provide a ‘good, clean, efficient service, it will cost you’.
The City Council’s ten year maintenance contract for the units expire this year and asked if he thought the above figure represented good value for the taxpayer, the city council spokesperson said the authority ‘always seeks to obtain good value for money’.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.