A spokesperson for Mayo County Council has said this week that the authority are ‘confident’ that they will be able to install toilets at Keel beach in Achill before the busy summer season, despite being blocked from carrying out work in the area by a local farmer.
The council had intended to install the toilets beside the caravan park in Keel by council workers but a local sheep farmer raised objections. It is understood that the long standing issue of ownership and commonage rights of the Keel Sandybanks is the reason why work was stopped at the site.
Martin Keating, Director of Services with Mayo County Council told The Mayo News that only one individual raised the issue of the erection of the toilets with them and they were in communications to resolve the matter.
“Obviously we would not have proceeded if we did not have the right [to install the toilets] and only one individual has raised an issue with the council. We are confident we will proceed and they will be installed because they are a vital facility for Keel, for locals and visitors alike. I am not prepared to put a time-scale on when the work will take place but they will be installed for the summer,” Mr Keating said.
The current permanent public toilets for Keel beach are deemed ‘inadequate’ by the Council to cater for the needs of visitors because they have been continuously vandalised. Mr Keating explained that a number of local businesses had contacted the Council complaining that beach goers who using their facilities because of the damage to the public toilets.
Keel beach is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Achill Island and is one of the island’s five Blue Flag beaches. One of the criteria for Blue Flag beaches is to have clean public toilets and restroom facilities on site.
Mr Keating explained that the lack of toilet facilities will not affect the Keel beach’s blue flag status for 2012 but may affect the criteria for retaining the flag in 2013. However, he again stressed that he was ‘confident’ the toilets will be available for the summer. Local councillor Micheál McNamara said that he hoped that the issue can be resolved before the start of the summer.
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