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Tidy Town hopes dashed by few ‘not stepping up to the place’

Westport denied Tidy Town crown by few ‘not stepping up to the plate’

Anton McNulty

The Cathaoirleach of Westport Town Council believes the town did not win the 2011 Tidy Towns because a few people did not ‘step up to the plate’.
Westport, which was crowned winner of the competition in 2001, 2006 and 2008, was pipped at the post by Killarney this year, which won the contest by just one point. At last week’s town council meeting, the Cathaoirleach, Cllr Christy Hyland, accused people who neglected their duties of looking after the town of causing Westport to lose out on the crown.
“Unfortunately a few people were neglectful, and they are the cause of us not winning an All-Ireland title and that is the way it is. We got excellent marks, but unfortunately we did not win because of certain people, and they know who they are. I will not apologise for a few people who did not step up to the plate. Nice guys do not win All-Irelands,” he told the meeting.
Westport received 309 points from the Tidy Towns adjudication committee and retained their county and regional gold awards. The judges praised the the links created by the Tidy Towns Committee with ‘all sectors of the community’.
They noted that the resulting overall ‘partnership approach’ in ‘your lovely town’ was a fine demonstration of ‘how the Tidy Towns initiative works at an optimum level for the community’. They also cited the development of the Westport Greenway and the Greenway Recreational Park as fine examples of inclusive communal developments.
Many of the councillors in the meeting felt that the inclusion of the Greenway would tip the balance in Westport’s favour and expressed their disappointment about not winning the overall award.
“Great credit must go to all concerned in the Tidy Towns Committee,” remarked Cllr Ollie Gannon. “I am disappointed with the result because I was convinced with the Greenway we would have been ‘top of the pops’,” he said, adding defiantly: “It is only a matter of time before we are crowed National Tidy Town kings again.”
The outgoing chairperson of the Westport Tidy Towns Committee, Pamela Flanagan was praised for her leadership and best wishes were expressed to Frank Dolan, the new Chairperson, who was described as a stalwart of the Tidy Towns initiative in Westport.
Cllr Myles Staunton said it was testimony to the high standard that Westport has set that councillors have expressed their disappointment at coming second out of 821 entries. He pointed out that it reminded him of Roy Keane’s attitude after he went to Holland and was disappointed at getting a draw. While the comparison with Roy Keane was not met with approval by all the councillors, the sentiment was broadly agreed with.
Cllr Staunton added that Westport was the envy of so many towns around the country. He said the objective was to maintain that standard, which he said attracts people to the town and keeps people in employment.