Making vast strides with regards to the cleanliness of the town, Athlone has been recognised for its due efforts in this regard, achieving second place in the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL ) report, the rankings for which have been released.
Athlone, which only three years previously, loitered in a lowly 34th position on the litter league table, only narrowly missed out on top spot with Fermoy claiming prime position.
Speaking with immense pride following the publication of the results, local businessman and elected representative, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke, commended the word work and toil of those who have contributed to the latest ranking.
“I am always making a case to our local authority for more resources so that we can continually work to raise our standards as a large, growing town. I have always said that we should be aiming to compete with the likes of Galway, Kilkenny, Westport and Killarney when it comes to how we present and maintain our town.
“This result confirms that we are getting there and great credit is due to everyone concerned. It is no accident that we have achieved this second place spot with IBAL and it is no accident either that Athlone won a Bronze Medal two years running in the national Tidy Towns Awards. There is finally an awareness out there with the general public and with business owners that we all have a responsibility when it comes to how we present our town,” Cllr. O’Rourke noted.
The Westmeath County Council Leas Cathaoirleach commented that more business people in the town are becoming responsible for the cleanliness and appearance of their premises which augurs well for the future.
“Up to recently, I would get phone calls from business operators in Athlone asking me to organise for the council to remove weeds from the front of their shops. Now with our recently launched Business Champions initiative, working with Athlone Tidy Towns and the Council, there is a growing awareness that we are all responsible for our own little patch, and that is how it should be. The removal of litter or weeds from outside a premises is the responsibility of the owner of that premises.
“I would like to congratulate Athlone Tidy Towns for the amazing work they do on a voluntary basis and also the newly established Athlone Business Champions along with the Council staff for their work and cooperation with the various groups.
“Athlone is a fantastic town, with so much potential on so many levels. To compete with the high achievers we need to continually strive to up our game as a town. Working with Tidy Towns in 2019, it is our aim to achieve a silver medal at a national level this year, while in terms of IBAL going forward, there is no reason why we can not achieve the top spot rating on the next occasion,” the Councillor concluded.
An Taisce, who carried out litter survey on behalf of IBAL, made reference to Athlone’s strong showing on this occasion.
“One of Athlone’s best results in the league, with eight out of the ten sites surveyed getting the top litter grade. Athlone Civic Centre was an exceptionally good site, not only was it clear of litter throughout. but the overall presentation was excellent. The residential area of Woodville (Grange and Green ) was excellent, with those dwelling in the locations house proud as this area was spotless throughout. City Quarter apartments and environs was another excellent site and was presented very well, completely clear of litter.”