Athlone has been praised for an “excellent showing” in the latest Irish Businesses Against Litter (IBAL ) rankings.
Athlone has shot 10 places up the rankings since January this year, going from 22nd place to 12th in the single biggest jump in many years. This time last year it was even further down the ranks in 31st place.
It is now categorised as ‘Cleaner than European Norms’ - its previous ranking was ‘Clean to European norms’.
The adjudicators singled out Burgess Park for particular praise as “a wonderful amenity which was well presented and maintained”, with a complete absence of litter. The approach roads also achieved the top litter grade, creating a very positive first impression of Athlone, according to the report.
The Athlone Recycle Facility beside Golden Island Shopping Centre was described as “very well tended and tidy throughout”. However Golden Island Shopping Centre lost marks for the presence of some litter in the shrubberies and at the base of ornamental trees, while the IMC cinema also just missed out on top marks due to litter and “heavy levels of cigarette butts”.
Strand Street was also criticised for cigarette litter: “ It is quite unusual in the IBAL Anti-Litter survey for a site to be marked down solely because of cigarette butts but this is the case in this instance. If this issue was addressed it would be a top ranking site,” said the report.
However Dublingate Street and Griffith Street earned a Grade A ranking, with the adjudicators impressed by planter boxes and ornamental trees, as well as the presence of litter bins, on Dublingate Street.
Deputy mayor of Athlone Cllr Aengus O’Rourke extended his congratulations to all involved in Athlone’s “strong, steady improvement”.
“Congratulations to Athlone Tidy Towns, the council outdoor staff, all the residents associations, volunteers, and all the people who take pride in the areas where they work and live. This result is great news, we need to build on this and make sure that we harness and leverage this positive momentum for further improvement,” he said.