Kildare named Ireland’s cleanest town by litter group
The State’s dirtiest and cleanest areas revealed in national survey by An Taisce
Kildare has been named Ireland’s cleanest town by the Irish Business Against Litter (Ibal) group.
The town re-entered the awards in 2016 following an absence of a number of years, and ascended straight to the number one spot with Roscommon coming second and Ashbourne coming third.
The three towns were among a list of 13 areas countrywide recognised as being cleaner than European norms, along with Waterford which was the highest ranked city in fourth place.
Speaking afterwards, Kildare County Council’s director of services for the environment Joe Boland said everyone associated with Kildare town was “overwhelmed” and “delighted” with the award.
“In Tidy Towns we have two gold medals, three silver and a number of bronze medals.”
But, he said, “it’s not so much about winning competitions. It’s about energising local communities, it’s about getting people working together. I think the big winners here are local communities.”
Mr Boland said they had yet to consider where to exhibit the top prize of a specially-commissioned sculpture, the second such award to be commissioned following Longford’s win last year.
Each of the top five towns and cities will also be given an emperor lime tree by the Irish Tree Centre in Cork.
Despite the praise for high-achievers, Ibal spokesman Conor Horgan said there had been a drop in the number of areas surveyed which were deemed to be clean to European norms, down from 85 per cent of areas two years ago to just over 70 per cent in 2016.
Galvone in Limerick city, Farranree in Cork city and Dublin’s north inner city were all regarded as being seriously littered, but no area was listed as a “litter blackspot” last year.
Ibal pointed to illegal dumping as a major factor behind some of the poor performances.
Asked if other local authorities would be well-advised to follow Dublin City Council’s example in publishing images of illegal dumpers, Mr Horgan praised the “innovative” nature of the exercise but said “whether it’s worth extending across the country I’m not sure”.
The council’s use of stills images from CCTV footage at a dumping blackspot near the Five Lamps in the north inner city prompted an intervention from the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, which said the council should not be “overly prejudicial” to individuals’ rights to data privacy.
Dublin City Council responded that it considered the tactic to be a “proportionate response” to illegal dumping in the area, and representatives from other local authorities have since expressed interest in following suit.
Mr Horgan added that any future pay-by-weight waste disposal scheme would inevitably lead to a rise in illegal dumping, and called on the Government to ring-fence some of the revenues raised to fund clean-ups should such a measure be introduced over the coming years.
Established over two decades ago, Ibal is an alliance of companies seeking to pressure local authorities and other relevant stakeholders into keeping Irish towns and cities clean and tidy.
The list of 40 areas surveyed changes every year, and research is conducted in conjunction with heritage organisation An Taisce.
10 cleanest towns:
Dublin Airport Environs
10 dirtiest towns:
Galvone (Limerick city)
Farrantree (Cork City)
Dublin North Inner City
Ballymun (north Dublin)
Mahon (Cork City)
Ballybane (Galway city)
Dublin City Centre