DAYBREAK CLEAN UP County council staff and Tidy Towns volunteers had tidied up the Octagon area of Westport before businesses opened on Bank Holiday Monday morning.
The hard work of the outdoor council staff and Tidy Towns volunteers ensure people wake up to Westport looking pretty and not covered in litter, according to a local councillor.
Huge crowds descended on Westport for the bank holiday weekend, with the majority of hotels and accommodation providers fully booked for the first holiday weekend since restrictions were eased.
There were gatherings of people socialising in the town centre on Saturday and Sunday evenings and while the crowds by-and-large behaved themselves, local councillor Christy Hyland said he received a number of complaints about litter ‘from the consumption of alcohol and food’.
“I will be asking management regarding the control of litter over the weekend. If it wasn’t for the council staff or the Tidy Towns volunteers our town would not be too pretty. There was a litter problem, there is no getting away from it,” said Cllr Hyland.
Another busy summer is expected in Westport but with indoor dining not expected until July, Cllr Hyland said that there needs to be communication between the council, gardaí, food providers and vintners to ensure there are no problems and visitors have a good experience.
He said that while the government encouraged outdoor socialising, they had failed to put any plans in place to deal with large crowds.
“The government organised a street festival for the public for the weekend but they didn’t put stewarding or management or litter control in place. They told everyone to enjoy the party without a plan in place. When things go wrong they blame the local authority but in this situation the book stops with the Government,” he said.
Meanwhile, the village of Cong and around Ashford Castle were ‘choc-a-bloc’ with visitors but Ballinrobe-based councillor Michael Burke believes that the region will be able to deal with another busy summer season.
While Cong village was busy, Cllr Burke said that other parts of the region were not as busy but he expects that to change once restaurants and pubs start serving outdoors. He said he was confident that businesses will be able to deal with the demands of outdoor service and the only concern was would the weather remain favourable for it.
“From a local point of view, I think the restaurants and pubs will manage it very well and I don’t think we will have to be concerned about too many people on the street. It is all positive and hopefully there will be indoor dining very quickly if everything goes to plan,” he said.
A recent meeting of the Claremorris/Swinford Municipal District heard that the district has less litter wardens compared to other districts in the county. Cllr Burke said that he felt that people’s standards regarding litter had slipped slightly and he encouraged people not to throw away their waste.
“People do a huge amount of work to ensure their town and villages look beautiful and people need to appreciate that and respect them. We were very good but I think people’s standards slipped a little bit. We are going to be busy for the next couple of months and we want to show off our towns and villages in the best way possible,” he said.
He added that he hoped with extra tourists coming into the towns it will encourage more people back into towns and spending money.
“While the government schemes were helpful, they have not made up for what people lost. While we have come out the other end, hopefully small businesses will stay in business and go on and prosper in our smaller towns,” he added.