HAT-TRICK HEROES Westport was named as Ireland’s tidiest large town for the third year in a row at the SuperValu Tidy Towns national finals at the Helix in Dublin yesterday (Monday). Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, TD and Martin Kelleher, Managing Director, SuperValu, presented the trophy to Chairperson of Westport Tidy Towns, Liam Campion, surrounded by Westport Tidy Towns volunteers. Pic: Naoise Culhane
Westport wins Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town award but is pipped by one point for the overall prize
WESTPORT Tidy Towns were celebrating on Monday evening after winning Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town award for the third year in a row, but agonisingly they missed out on the overall title by a single point.
A record 918 communities entered this year’s Super Valu Tidy Towns Competition and there was great excitement among the Westport contingent when they were once again announced as the winner of Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town award for the third successive year.
The town also increased their points total by nine points and there were high hopes of being named Ireland’s Tidiest Town for 2019 but they were pipped at the post by the county Monaghan village of Glaslough.
Shortly after receiving the award, Liam Campion, Chairman of Westport Tidy Towns told The Mayo News that they were over the moon to win the ‘three-in-a-row’ and there was no disappointment at missing out on the overall prize.
“There was no disappointment [at missing out on the overall prize], it is not a competition you get disappointed in. The overall prize would have been fantastic but we have had it three times in the last 19 years and we have now won the Tidiest Large Town for the tenth time in 19 years. We always look to keep raising the standard and that is what we did this year [by winning the Tidiest Large Town]. Disappointment is not a word we think about. We are over the moon to win three-in-a-row and now we will start thinking of four-in-a-row,” he said.
Mr Campion said their success is not just down to the Tidy Towns committee but to the whole community who volunteer and raise the awareness of the importance of tidy towns. He said all sectors of society have come on board and every Tuesday a group of different volunteers take part in their ‘Tuesday Night Clean-up’.
“All the businesses have come on board. So too have the Vintners and sporting clubs, they all take part in our Tuesday Night Clean-up. There would be 40 people out from the different groups on the Tuesday and we estimate that’s more that 7,000 working hours during the year. It is not just the committee pushing it, it is the whole community who are raising the awareness of tidy towns.”
The Tidy Towns announcements was made at The Helix in Dublin yesterday afternoon where Michael Ring, TD announced a special allocation of €1.4 million to support the work of individual TidyTowns Committees around the country.
“I am delighted to be able to announce that I am making available €1.4 million in order to directly support the Tidy Towns committees who work so tirelessly to bring out the best in their towns and villages. All of the towns and villages involved in the competition across the country should benefit from this investment. Wherever you have active Tidy Towns committees, it gives the town a real sense of pride and engagement, and creates a great atmosphere for both residents and visitors alike,” he said.
Louisburgh were also celebrating when they won the inaugural ‘Leave No Trace Ireland Tidy Towns Award’, which recognises community groups who have shown an appreciation for their outdoor environment and have taken action to promote responsible outdoor recreation.
Commenting on the award Eithne Larkin, Training Administrator of Leave No Trace Ireland said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the ‘Keep our Beaches Clean’ initiative submitted by Louisburgh TidyTowns, who are very deserving winners. This initiative involves the cleaning of thirteen beaches in the Mayo area, collaborating with numerous volunteers, statutory agencies and extensive promotion through social media. Today, all that dedication and effort to the promotion of responsibility in the outdoors has paid off,” she said.
The success of Westport, Louisburgh and the other towns and villages in Mayo were praised by councillors in the Westport-Belmullet Municipal District at yesterday’s monthly meeting.