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Causing a stink... the superloo that has cost ratepayers £17 to spend a penny

By Cate McCurry

Published 18/12/2015

The controversial toilet in Fintona, Co Tyrone
The controversial toilet in Fintona, Co Tyrone
The controversial toilet in Fintona, Co Tyrone

This is the luxury public toilet that is causing a stink after costing ratepayers £17 to spend a penny.

The so-called superloo in Fintona, Co Tyrone, has cost £80,000 in rental fees in the last four years - but has generated just £465 in that time.

Locals now want it removed from its central location as they say it's creating an eyesore in the rural village.

The self-cleaning, low maintenance toilet was moved to Fintona four years ago from its original location in nearby Omagh.

But people have kicked up a stink about the state-of-the-art WC because of its high running fees.

Local Sinn Fein councillor Stephen McCann said the superloo was an eyesore and needed to be removed. He told the Belfast Telegraph: "There are a number of people in the area who want it removed because it's an eyesore and it's not being utilised properly.

"The council took out a 20-year contract and that runs out in October next year, and during the four years it's been here it has made just £465.20.

"That's a substantial cost for the council.

"The local people want the superloo removed and the money invested elsewhere in the community.

"This facility has been dumped on the people of Fintona and they are aggrieved by that, as it's in a central location."

A report to a meeting of the environmental services committee of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council found that the £20,000 cost for maintenance of the superloo was compared to a total average running cost of £10,000 for public conveniences in other towns and villages in the region.

There is an option for the council to extend its lease agreement for the toilet beyond October next year.

A review will examine the number and locations of public toilets in the district, their condition, their use, servicing and cost effectiveness.

The figures, which were obtained by the Ulster Herald, were also criticised by Canon Patrick Marron, the parish priest in Fintona.

He said the expensive WC was a waste of money.

He told the Ulster Herald: "The people of Fintona simply don't want it.

"It's absolutely ridiculous that the toilet is still here and costing so much to the businesses and people of the town. People are going into nearby businesses if they need to use the toilet rather than availing of this facility.

"It was only supposed to be in Fintona on a three-month trial. What makes the whole thing even more galling is the fact that £80,000 has been spent on a contract for the superloo, which could have been better used encouraging industry in Fintona and helping ease the rates burden on businesses especially.

"There has been no consultation with the people in Fintona about whether they want this superloo to remain here. I want to get them talking about it and then the council will realise the strength of opposition."

A spokesperson for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said it was currently reviewing the provision of public toilets across the district and that a public consultation would take place before final decisions were made.

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