Public toilet opening hours in Mid Ulster up for debate

Public toilets in Magherafelt
Public toilets in Magherafelt

Mid Ulster councillors are to review the opening hours of their public toilets.

Members of the environment committee are expected to discuss the matter when they meet next Tuesday.

The Mail recently posed the question whether Mid Ulster's main towns should be allowed to remain open all night - especially at weekends - to facilitate revellers.

It followed claims by a Magherafelt solicitor that the council has a duty to provide "sanitary facilities."

Mr Stephen Atherton said that he and other lawyers have to represent people of otherwise good character when they get brought before the court for indecent behaviour.

“People of good character are being unnecessarily criminalised because they have nowhere to go once the pubs close,” he said.

“In the absence of sanitary facilities the council has a duty to patrons and licensed owners to provide toilets in the early hours of the morning. No blame on licensed owners who are obeying the licensing laws, or patrons.” The public toilets at Rainey Street in Magherafelt close at 5pm each day during winter and 7pm in the summer.

A spokesperson for Mid Ulster Council responded: “Leaving toilets open and unattended through the night, even if the location was to be included on routine police patrols, is likely to result in vandalism and anti-social behaviour.”