Belfast Telegraph

Very public urinal causes bit of a stink in Portrush

By Cate McCurry

Men wishing to spend a penny in Portrush over the busy Easter weekend may have been left red-faced when they discovered this particular amenity had been laid on for their convenience.

Such open-air facilities may be a familiar sight in socially liberal places such as San Fransicso and Amsterdam, but for the more conservative sensibilities of Northern Ireland menfolk this loo may have proven a step too far.

The plastic amenity has been raising a few eyebrows in the coastal town since it was erected beside a busy road and old people's housing development.

It was placed there ahead of a car cruise which saw thousands of people descend on the town on Easter Sunday.

The Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council agreed to provide more toilet facilities in the town following reports of anti-social behaviour at last year's event.

Stephen Murr, manager at the Atlantic Bar, said he thought it was a water fountain when he spotted it.

"It looks like a drinking fountain for people to take a drink of water out of," he added.

"It's sitting next to a proper private toilet, so when I spotted it earlier in the week I thought that's where people press the button and can get a drink from it.

"I thought it was a disgrace. You may as well go up against the wall. There's no privacy there at all if you need to go.

"When I heard what they were I thought it was a bit of a joke. No one seems to like them round here. I heard people chatting about it and they were of the same opinion because they are not enclosed.

"I have never seen anyone using it and I doubt anyone would. I definitely wouldn't.

"A couple of the customers said to me about it too and they didn't like it either."

Ulster Unionist councillor William McCandless described the loo as "revealing" and admitted he would not use it.

"I will speak to council officials to find out where this came from as I don't think people would be comfortable using it," he said.

"It's a bit revealing and I thought it looked like something we have seen on the continent. I'm not sure who we hired these from because I have never seen anything like this before.

"I thought it was something you can wash your hands in, then I thought it might be a water fountain. Although I didn't see anyone use them over the weekend, they are totally alien to me.

"If it is meant to be used as a toilet facility I have to be honest I don't think I would be too comfortable using it myself.

"I know there were a lot of problems last year during the car cruise with anti-social behaviour with people urinating on the streets. This year there was good engagement by the police and the council officers and officials to put as many toilets in as possible, but the toilets that I saw in use were proper toilets as we would know them.

"I would certainly not be happy knowing young children and teenagers could be walking past and seeing someone use those public facilities, so we need to find out why these were used.

"It's better than someone urinating in a garden or the street, but I think we could provide a much better facility than that."

Belfast Telegraph


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