Shocking Scenes here; but Young People need a Outlet, they need Hope. Sad to see the Litter Pile up on the streets. We need More Bins – this is just Common Sense? One Elderly Couple in bed; their Window opened for a little Air, and Pissed on in their Bed, Modern Ireland?

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Dublin residents’ woes as boozy outdoor revellers go to loo wherever they can – but are more public toilets the answer?

2nd May 2021

EMBATTLED residents in a city centre beauty spot turned pandemic party capital have told how their area has been used as a public toilet for years – and only gotten worse during lockdown.

Natives of Portobello – a go-to destination on the Grand Canal in Dublin – say they have had people urinate against their front doors and in laneways while one mother had a can of beer poured over her head when she confronted a drinker.

Residents of Portobello are inundated with people
            having a piss
Residents of Portobello are inundated with people having a piss
Foul louts leave their bottles and cans strewn about
            Portobello in disregard to locals
Foul louts leave their bottles and cans strewn about Portobello in disregard to locals
Revellers are drinking cans on the streets
Revellers are drinking cans on the streets

Long-time resident Sean O’Connell says he has called gardai up to 1,000 times since the pandemic began as boozers often armed with take away pints set up camp outside his home.

He said: “It starts at 2pm, Monday to Sunday straight through. It never stops. The drinking since the pandemic started is bad, and last Saturday was the worst I’ve ever seen it with 2,000 people here.”

Revellers have even started using local addresses to have food delivered, the dumped leftovers of which residents say are attracting rats.


Portobello is just one of many locations used as a drinking spot while pubs stay closed, and Lord Mayor Hazel Chu appealed to revellers in a video last week to respect the residents.

She said: “When people start outdoor drinking here it does accumulate to anti-social behaviour. They don’t bring their rubbish home, they may be a bit rowdy, they may decide that urinating in someone’s house is ok and this has all taken place around here.”

Since then, dozens of new temporary bins have popped up around the area, but businessman O’Connell says more bins won’t solve the problem.

And despite having people regularly urinate and defecate outside his front door, he says public toilets are not the answer either.

He is full of praise for gardai – and knows that “some of them are fed up listening to me” – but he believes “more boots on the ground” is the only answer and wants the Minister for Justice to provide funding for more hours.

He warned: “People now think they have a right to come here and consume alcohol. Public toilets will only reinforce that belief. The only people advocating public toilets don’t live here. I said ‘marvellous idea, let’s put them by your house and see how it goes.’

“Last weekend we had one group, 9 couples at the top of my street. Three fellas I had to stop from coming on to the street to p*ss. They say I have to p*ss somewhere. I said go home to where you live and p*ss! And take your mates and p*ss all you like.

The first 8-10 houses here are the first opportunity for many people to take a p*ss. We have a camper van here that gets the brunt of it. They p*ss on my front door. They don’t care. A woman last week squatted down here, I said don’t you dare.”

Drinking outdoors is not generally prohibited in Ireland, but many councils have bye-laws forbidding drinking in some or all public places and in Dublin this includes the likes of parks, beaches, green spaces, canals and riverbanks.


Those laws have their critics, many not seeing the harm in responsible outdoor drinking.

But O’Connell and his neighbours spend sunny days fighting off people seeking out somewhere to pee, when they would prefer to be making use of the local amenities themselves.

Another female resident who asked not to be named told the Irish Sun: “I asked a young man why he threw his empty can outside my house, so he opened another one and poured it over my head.”

She added: “We chose to live in the city centre, you expect a certain amount, but what’s happening here is terrible.”

O’Connell says the garda public order unit are often required to come down and clear out the area.

He said: “I have pictures of sh** outside my house, women have changed tampons outside my house and thrown them away.

“People use the laneway as a toilet. Guards in Kevin Street have done a great job, working hard. A few of them do an unbelievable job, never take no for an answer.

“Last Saturday we couldn’t have our dinners. I sit down to dinner and some fella comes up and p*sses against my car.

“The Public order unit then come and clear the streets so we can live.

“We have the riot squad in Portobello to clear the streets so people can live in their homes. That’s not modern society. That’s a scandal.”

He added: “I don’t want to ring the gardai. I’d rather have nothing to do with it. They are great, their resources are stretched thin. I’m sure when my number comes up they’re thinking ‘ah jaysus’.

“But the only end in sight is boots on the ground. Guards need to be highly visible, flood the area and confiscate alcohol.”


Daithi Doolan, a Sinn Fein Cllr for Ballyfermot/Drimnagh, believes Dublin City Council should provide toilets on health and safety grounds.

He said: “If we could divert those people into public toilets, you’d be bringing relief for them and more importantly you’d be bringing relief for residents who have to bear cleaning up the mess afterwards.

“I think the local authority has responsibility to plan for it and then it’s our job to get the funding.

“You saw last weekend what it was like. In Dublin city, within Dublin city council, we’ve over half a million people living here so our need is far more concentrated with greater needs than other local authorities around the country.

“And I think the government need to wake up, smell the coffee and work with us.”

Nial Ring, a North Inner City councillor says DCC’s budgets are “shot.”
But he predicted: “As soon as we get out of this lockdown, I don’t think it’ll be a major crisis when we begin to open up again.”


O’Connell has been living in the same house for almost four decades.

He said: “This was a fantastic place 37 years ago, there was no through way on the canal. We had the ever ready battery company, everything was blocked off at the top of Lennox place and the harbour, and Eveready looked after everything inside.

“That was opened up when Eveready sold out, from that day on we started to experience anti-social behaviour. 25 years this is going on, but not to today’s level.

“Cheap drink started it. We used never have cheap drink. People say it started with drinking cans at the Barge, everyone thought ‘this is cool’, everyone went there and then somewhere along the line the police got involved in the Barge and moved them out, up the canal.

“Now it goes from Charlemont Street bridge to Harold’s Cross bridge, with Portobello in the middle.”

Dublin City Council has opened 22 toilets in public buildings to help cope with demand as we approach our “outdoor summer”.

They have put out to tender for private businesses to operate loos on a non-profit basis, and currently operate three facilities in the city centre.

Local reps believe it will not be enough to cope with demand, with pubs and restaurants not scheduled to reopen for outdoor dining until June.


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