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Louth women launch online campaign calling for more toilets in local shopping centre

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At the moment, the toilets in the twenty-year old shopping centre are located upstairs in the foodcourt and on the ground floor in the side facing onto the Ramparts Road. There are also disabled toilets on the ground floor beside the escalator.

This means that people shopping in Dunnes Stores or the shops nearest the rear carpark have to walk the length of the mall before they can access toilet facilities.

It is particularly inconvenient for parents with young children, elderly people or those with medical conditions.

The petition on change.org was set up after Dundalk mum Nicola Bishop highlighted the issue on the popular Dundalk Dolls Facebook page.

“Ladies is there anything that can be done maybe a petition to Dunnes or to The Marshes itself to attempt to get bathrooms installed in that end of The Marshes . I swear it’s like an endurance sport going in there, between a 5-year-old needing to go in the middle of doing the shopping and having to run from Dunnes all the way up to the food court to go, and then with postpartum bladder myself, not fun. I can’t be the only one. It has to be the only shopping centre in the country that’s like this, it’s a joke.”

Her post was immediately greeted with a sea of ‘thumbs up’ and comments from women all agreeing.

“Its ridiculous I had to leave Dunnes yesterday & run all the way with my three-year-old & two-year-old cause my 3 year old needed to pee they should definitely install another toilet,” said one poster.

“Music to my ears. I was actually saying this yesterday because for someone with a medical condition, who requires urgent access to the bathroom, it’s so unfair that I have to walk from one end of the shopping centre because two bathrooms are basically beside each other.

“Omg it’s awful.. I avoid it completely when pregnant or potty training, had to have been a man who designed it

Some posters said they avoided using the shopping centre because of the lack of toilet facilities and others highlighted the fact that only one of the disabled toilets is open,.

The comments led to Naomi Boyle launching a petition on change.org calling for additional toilets and breastfeeding facilities at the lower end.

“This lack of facilities causes inconvenience to shoppers, especially those with young children or those who spend extended periods at the shopping centre.

“According to a survey by Every Mother Counts (2018), 88% of mothers find public spaces lacking appropriate breastfeeding facilities. This deficiency not only infringes upon a mother’s right to breastfeed but also poses health risks due to potential unsanitary conditions.

“We urge the management of the Marshes Shopping Centre to address this issue promptly by installing adequate toilet and breastfeeding facilities at the lower end of their building. This will significantly enhance shopper experience while promoting inclusivity and respect for mothers’ rights.

Nicola said she couldn’t believe the response to both her original post and the petition.

“I never expected this post to go the way it has, the reaction was just incredible,“ she said on Friday. “The post now has over 750 reactions and the petition now has 560 signatures. This issue clearly matters to the local community. It is affecting lots of people on a daily basis, young children, parents with babies, pregnant women, elderly, people with disabilities and urinary and bowel issues .

“Lots of people have said it puts them off going in altogether as it’s just too far out of the way. If you are in Dunnes when you or your child need to go you have to run all the way down to Penneys then up to the food court. Not easy on anyone, young or old.

Nicola said that she has emailed centre management and has yet to receive a response.

“I hope that they will give this issue careful consideration as it is clear from the overwhelming reaction I received to the post and to the petition which was set up that this is clearly an issue that matters to Dundalk.

A spokesperson for Marshes said the centre has sufficient toilet facilities for a shopping centre of its size, with two sets of toilets, two parent and child rooms, as well as an additional facility for the disabled.

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