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Gold for Tullamore in Tidy Towns

Thursday, 27 September 2018

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TULLAMORE, Geashill and Clonbullogue won gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in this year's Tidy Towns competition.
While the county town won a gold medal for the fourth year in a row, Geashill maintained its status as Offaly's tidiest village with the top marks in the county, 332.
Clonbullogue, a town which perenially scores well in this prestigious national competition, also increased its marks to 326 and scooped a bronze medal.
Tullamore jumped eight marks on 2017 and its 327 total is only nine lower than the top town in its category, Westport.
“We went up eight points so the way we look on it we're closing the gap on those ahead of us which is important," said Ray Carroll, Tullamore Tidy Towns chair.
Tullamore increased its mark in six of the eight categories and the judges' report sets out a roadmap for continuous improvement.
Mr Carroll said it was "terrific" to be up so much again and having read the report, the committee know that nature and biodiversity, where Tullamore scored 32 out of 50, and sustainability, where just 20 marks from 50 were received, are categories to concentrate on.
“Nature, biodiversity and sustainability are areas where we could do more. They're areas we are going to tackle in the next couple of years," the Tidy Towns chair vowed.
Tullamore scored well in tidiness and litter control and Mr Carroll pointed to a remark from the judges who said: "For a town the size of Tullamore it is very difficult to control litter and weeds. You have done a remarkable job in this regard... hardly any litter to be seen."
He said Tullamore needs to look at comparison towns, including the overall winner, Listowel, which scored 52 for community involvement, compared to Tullamore's 51.
However, Listowel was behind Tullamore in streetscape and public spaces, but managed to score 59 for litter control, compared to the Offaly town's 49.
The report did mention problems with weeds on paved areas and also said the former Texas site was the "untidiest" area in the town.
“We can see where the challenges are and we can see where improvements can be made and that's what we'll take on board," said Mr Carroll.
He said Tullamore's ambition is to win the large town category, as it did in 1996. "We've got to close the gap on the likes of Westport, Skerries and Killarney. We're up there with the big hitters."
Tullamore is one of just two towns in the Midlands to win gold, Abbeyleix being the other.
“We wouldn't achieve what we achieve without the help of so many people around town particularly those who take part in the Tidy Tullamore initiative sponsored by the Credit Union," the Tullamore chair added.
He praised those in estates who are always "beavering away" themselves and complimented the business community too: "I have to hand it to John Leavy who is spearheading the hanging baskets and the Credit Union for the planters on Patrick Street."
The committee hope that more trees will be planted when Tullamore's town centre is revamped and in the short-term the mobile tree planters currently on Patrick Street are the solution.
Geashill won a pollinator prize and the judges remarked of the village: "In the Árd Riadha estate 600 square metres of wildflower meadows is fantastic. It is great you successfully followed the management advice on how to grow and establish them. It can be difficult to achieve."
Clonbullogue's efforts on biodiversity were mentioned by the adjudicators. "Well done on organising training and awareness events on biodiversity as this is a great way of demonstrating how rich the habitats in your village and surrounding areas are. Consider going one or two steps further and encouraging residents to plant pollinator friendly plants and plant species that act as the food source for your resident bird population," the Clonbullogue report said.
The other Offaly marks were - Ballycumber 310, Banagher 297, Belmont 281, Birr 313, Cadamstown 304, Clara 242, Crinkle 299, Daingean 299, Edenderry 287, Ferbane 298, Horseleap 248, Killeigh 257, Kinnitty 287, Moneygall 281, Mucklagh 262, Pullough 277, Rhode 287, Shannonbridge 274, Shinrone 286, Walsh Island 270.

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