PLANS TO get rid of Athy’s only public toilet have been welcomed by a disability access campaigner, who says the toilet is useless to her and other wheelchair users.
Athy Municipal District councillors last week voted to remove the toilet, which costs the council €32,000 a year and brings in revenue of just €500 a year. The councillors made the decision despite having been told that the council will have to pay €82,000 to exit the contract.
Two councillors, cllr Thomas Redmond and cllr Mark Dalton, opposed the decision. Cllr Redmond noted that it was the only wheelchair accessible toilet in the town.
However, disability access campaigner and wheelchair user Patricia Keane said the toilet was effectively useless for her and other wheelchair users like her.
“If I somehow manage to get in there and close the door, I can’t open it again so I am stuck. To use it I would need an assistant and you can’t get an assistant in there so it is useless for someone like me. My wheelchair would be on the larger end of the scale and there may be some wheelchair users who can get in there, but I can’t.”
Athy’s automated loo is one of four in Kildare that the council are seeking to get rid of due by the end of 2018. The other three are in Kildare town, Newbridge and Maynooth. The contracts for the toilets would have been due to expire in 2024 and the Kildare Nationalist understands that terminating the contract for the toilet in Athy will save the council €139,500.