Athenry Hails its Tidy Towners – December 1996

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The Athenry Tidy Town’s Committee can look back on the year 1996 and feel a sense of worthwhile achievement. Since our formation in November 1992, we have been making steady progress in our efforts to enhance and improve the town and this year has indeed been a great success to us and it gives us great encouragement to continue on with the work we have started.

In February, Councillor John Mannion, Chairman Galway County Council, presented an award and a cheque for £200 to our treasurer Mrs. Peggy Farrell for our success in the Local Tidy Towns Competitions. Our Vice-Chairperson, Johnny Delaney has adopted a new approach to waste minimization in Fahy’s Centra Supermarket. Johnny, with the support of the owner Mr. Séamus Fahy, this year introduced a promotional and recycling scheme to the store namely “Re-Use A Bag” scheme.

All customers were encouraged to reuse their plastic bags and for every bag re-used the store donated 1penny to the Athenry Tidy Towns Committee. The success of this scheme has been borne out because last August, Séamus Fahy presented us with a cheque for £300 which will be put to the most beneficial use for the good of the town. This scheme has acted as a great awareness campaign which is geared towards the consumer, because we all should remember that it is our ready acceptance of convenience foods, packaged in little polystyrene bags and trays, burger boxes and the like that has encouraged manufacturers to design and develop environmentally unfriendly packaging. So, it is great to see that a start has now been made in the town to offset this problem. In 1997, an awareness campaign will be put in motion to encourage other shops and foodstores to follow suit.

The committee as part of its “Five Year Improvement Plan has, also, this year drawn up, compiled and costed a project titled: Home Composting and Civic Amenity Site at Athenry. The project which is geared towards waste minimization and re-use is the first of its kind in the County and has also been included in the Department of the Environment Operational Programme for Local Urban and Rural Development Plan l996-1999. This project is grant aided to the tune of £30,000. It reflects the requirements of the Packaging Directive (EU, l994) which sets targets for the recovery/recycling of all waste. Its framework is based mainly on:

Recycling paper and cardboard.
Home composting.

This project is now up and running. During the past two months, two of our committee members Tony Kilcommins, President and Martin O’Beirne, P.R.O. in conjunction with an Officer of Galway County Council distributed 50 Green Cones, Kitchen Caddies and 50 Recycones to householders who expressed interest in the scheme at a cost of £7,500 borne by Galway County Council and this project will be looked upon as a pilot study for the rest of the county and a monitoring programme will also be put in place.

Evidence in the United Kingdom has shown that the widespread use of Green Cones and Recycones can reduce Municipal Solid Waste by over 40%, thus extending the life of present disposal facilities and also reduce public protest about new landfills. The onus is now on all those who availed of the cones to use them properly thus reducing the quantity of organic waste in their dust bins. A questionnaire will be send from Galway County Council to all those householders in six months time asking them for their comments on same.

This year has also seen the formation of the Athenry Junior Tidy Towns Committee. Their chairperson is Miss Tracey Torpey and we will be looking for great achievements from them in the future.

Since our formation, we have always been stressing that the involvement of our school going children is of the utmost importance if we are to have any success in the overall implementation of our Five Year Improvement Plan because by their involvement:

They will learn of the practical benefits of working and co-operating with their friends and neighbours to protect and improve our town and its environs.

It will make them more aware of our environment and the responsibility they will have in the future to protect it for their own children.

They are the youth of today, but they will be the men and women of tomorrow so by their involvement now in making our town a cleaner place to live in, they will be making their own contribution in helping to protect our environment.

Our greatest achievement in 1996 was in the National Tidy Towns Competition. This competition is now under the control of the Department of the Environment, which up to this was overseen by An Bord Failte. It has taken on a new adjudication criteria and format, with the focus now on a wider protection of the local environment. This year’s results have seen us increasing our marks by 40 or 28% over last year, which to all intends and purposes is a major achievement. This result has now brought us to the forefront and it has put us in line of making a major impact and bid of winning a major award in the years to come. Everyone in the town and outskirts can take credit for this success, because they all played their part in enhancing the town and we the committee are indeed very grateful to all for this achievement.

This summer the committee, for the third year running, ran very successful local competitions. The aim was to raise awareness and civic pride in the town and to officially recognize those who played such an active role in keeping Athenry looking its best.

Awards were presented at a recent function in Hanberry’s Hotel to the winners of the local competitions which the committee feel has been very successful in getting all sectors of the community involved in ensuring Athenry’s place at National level in the Tidy Towns competition. The competition headings were:

Best Kept Commercial Premises and Perimeter.
Best Kept Private and Residential Premises and Perimeter.
Best Kept Suburban Garden.

The number of entries this year was indeed again very high and the sponsors of the competition were as follows: Barney Carroll of Carroll Meats, John Curley of Curley Fruit Importers and Philip and Peggy Farrell of Farrells Fruit and Veg.

The main adjudication was carried out by Mr. Bosco McDermott, horticulturist, who is employed in Glynn’s Garden Centre, Lydican, Claregalway. He was very impressed with the floral displays and overall appearance of the participating premises. The awards were presented by our President, Mr. Tony Kilcommins. The overall award for Best Kept Commercial Premises and Perimeter went to Ray Glynn, Central Bar and the runners-up were Iggy’s Bar Cross St., and Duffy’s Mace Foodmarket, Northgate. Winners in the Best Kept Private and Residential Premises and Perimeter were Mary and Kathleen Gardner. Runners-up in this category were Paddy Ryan, Cross Street and Michael Somers, Clark Street.

In the Best Kept Suburban Garden section Martin Fitzpatrick, New Line was the overall winner. Runners-up were Mary Delaney, Caheroyan Road and Joy McNamara, Abbey Row. We would like to thank all those people who supplied materials and carried out work for us voluntary during the year. Their contribution and effort are indeed greatly appreciated.

The following is an extract from the adjudicators report to us for this year’s National Tidy Town’s competition:

Athenry is a town on the move and you are to be commended for your achievements so far. We realize that you largely depend on voluntary help and cannot put matters right overnight. Your overall Plan is the way forward.

Keep encouraging your residents to play their vital part in enhancing the town. Please let us enjoy your stone walls. Encourage those with stone walls bordering their properties to keep them weed free. Remember the adjudicator sees through the eyes of a visitor – even though the looking is more critical. We enjoyed Athenry. You are doing a fine job and will be well rewarded for your efforts.

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About this record

Written by Christy Coffey

Published here 15 Jan 2023

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