Dublin City Council says providing more toilets and bins will "only drive more footfall"
"We are very keen to facilitate an outdoor summer. I think the problem is what is the definition of an outdoor summer?"
Coilin O'Reilly, Director of City Recovery with Dublin City Council has said that the council is concerned that providing more bins and toilets in the City Centre will "only drive more footfall" to the area.
Speaking on RTÉ's Claire Byrne on Monday, O'Reilly said that the council are in a "very difficult situation", adding that the creation of more toilet and rubbish facilities in the centre would create a "public health" issue.
"We're in a very difficult situation, we are criticised for not managing these un-planned mass gatherings, but we can't take action to condone or support them as well. There is two very separate issues. We have toilets and bins on one point, and we also have public health guidelines," he said.
"We feel that if we provide toilets and bins at these locations, it will only drive more footfall and create more of an issue from a public health perspective. That would be what we feel would happen."
O'Reilly added that the Government is planning on rolling out "controlled, structured, test events" over the coming months to combat the large gatherings.
"That's certainly not what we have seen in the City Centre this weekend. We're somewhat stuck because we have gatherings of this size," he added.
"If we supply more toilets and bins does that bring more people in, do we end up with bigger public health issues? It's a very difficult situation to manage."
The Director of City Recovery added that while he has "great sympathy for the businesses" in the area, opening other areas of the city later such as St Stephens Green Park or Merrion Square would only move the problem elsewhere.
He said that the "primary issue" is one of public health and mass unorganised gatherings.
"Putting everybody into Stephens Green or Merrion Square doesn't solve the public health issue," he continued.
O'Reilly added that while the council doesn't want to shut down city streets as it could have a "detrimental effect on businesses", they are dealing with a "hugely difficult situation."
"We are very keen to facilitate an outdoor summer. I think the problem is what is the definition of an outdoor summer? And, people's definition of an outdoor summer," he said.
"From our point of view, that's the street interventions we're putting in, the facilitation of outdoor dining, the hundreds of street furniture licenses."
O'Reilly said that the council will take "any action to improve the situation for businesses", saying that Gardaí who had stopped people from entering certain streets over the weekend are also "in a very difficult situation".
He said that Gardaí will be putting measures in place over the bank holiday weekend to prevent the same scenes from occurring, such as analysing the numbers of people on streets at any one time and finding better ways to empty bins.
O'Reilly added that there had been many gatherings throughout the city without any issues over the weekend, saying that the people involved in the mass gathering "are adults" and should "make better decisions".
"They definitely weren't doing what Government told them to do because Government told us not to gather in groups of that size."