Making vast strides with regards to the cleanliness of the town, Athlone has been recognised for its due efforts in this regard, once again achieving second place in the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL ) report, the rankings for which have been released.
Athlone, which in times past, loitered in a lowly 34th position on the litter league table, only narrowly missed out on top spot with Kilkenny claiming prime position, this accolade due recognition of the collective efforts of those who continuously strive for a litter free appearance within the town.
An Taisce, who carried out litter survey on behalf of IBAL, made reference to Athlone’s strong showing once again on this occasion.
‘Athlone is back among the cleanest towns in Ireland after this superb result, with nine out of the ten sites surveyed getting the top litter grade and some deserving a special mention, the Recycle Facility at Gracepark was one of the freshest and cleanest facilities, so often this is not the case throughout the rest of the country. The Strand, Shannon Bank, was good with regard to litter, despite plenty of people in the immediate area, there was a complete absence of litter at Devinish Castle ruins and the grass surrounding it had recently been cut.’
Speaking with immense pride following the publication of the results, Town Mayor, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke, commended the word work and toil of those who have contributed to the latest ranking.
“Huge congratulations must be afforded to Athlone Tidy Towns and the Council staff on the latest IBAL, anti-litter report. According to the IBAL report, Athlone was only just ‘pipped’ by Kilkenny for the top spot.
“For Athlone to have achieved second place in the country is nothing short of remarkable. When you see Athlone mentioned with the likes of Killarney and Kilkenny at the top of the anti-litter table you know you are in a very good place and the town’s success is even more impressive when you look at the trends across the country. The Covid-19 crisis has seen more dumping, more outdoor socialising, especially drinking. PPE litter is prevalent across the country according to the IBAL report.
“Households have also been generating more waste during lockdown. Some local authorities were clearly doing less cleaning and, in some towns, there was reports of less activity by volunteers like Tidy Towns. On a national level, this year’s report shows the country overall in its worst position for over 10 years.
“But not Athlone! As Mayor, on behalf of the people of Athlone, I would like to say a most sincere thank you to the wonderful Athlone Tidy Towns group of volunteers. I would also like to thank the Residents Associations throughout the town, our Council staff, the Business Champions and every person that ever picked up a piece of litter. The town is in great shape, it takes everyone to play their part, so thanks to all your collective efforts,” Cllr O’Rourke said.
The Town Mayor paid particular reference to the local Tidy Towns group who continue to do sterling work pertaining to cleanliness maintenance in Athlone.
“The commitment shown by Athlone Tidy Towns in particular is worth special mention. They are a small but very determined group of individuals with a passion for their town. Not afraid to get their hands dirty, they can be seen in any corner of the town weeding, digging, planting and all for the love of their town. Well done and thank you for your hard work and commitment.
“Let this result be a rallying call also to people with a little bit of spare time on their hands, who can give some of that time to Athlone Tidy Towns. If we are to hold our lofty position, or if we are to hit the top spot, we need more people to help across the town.
“To get involved please email [email protected] or text your name and details to: 086-3867484,” Cllr. O’Rourke remarked.
Reflecting upon the achievement, Athlone Chamber of Commerce also afforded due gratitude to the unified ethos of those involved with ensuring Athlone maintains a cleanliness presence on a consistent basis.
“Athlone Chamber of Commerce are delighted to hear that the town has achieved second place in the latest IBAL report. Huge credit goes to the Tidy Towns committee and Westmeath County Council for the work completed to achieve a ‘cleaner than European norms’ result.
“This great work helps make Athlone a good place to visit and therefore will assist business in our town.
“As a follow on to this result we would ask the public to shop local. If you can buy items from local independent shops rather than online, we would encourage you to please do so,” Gerry McInerney, Athlone Chamber of Commerce CEO, asserted.