Tipperary town has come third from bottom in a fifty three town litter league table released by Irish Business Against Litter.
The report, in which only Knocknaheeny, Cork and North Inner city Dublin finished below Tipperary town, was a massive disappointment to everybody in the town, according to Mayor Jacqui Finnan.
Thirty eight towns, including Clonmel which finished twenty-eight, received a Clean to European Norms standard. Clonmel Mayor Darren Ryan said the IBAL litter league table had no credibility following the release of the table. Another nine towns received a Moderately Littered standard and four towns, including Tipperary Town, were labelled Littered with the bottom two in the league, Knocknaheeny and North inner city Dublin branded as Litter Blackspots.
Mayor Finnan explained that this was the first time that Tipperary Town had been notified that it was being judged in the IBAL league. She expressed huge disappointment with the results and said the elected representatives, council officials and the people living in the town had to take notice of what the IBAL report on the town stated.
Mayor Finnan said it was true to say that the people of the town were putting in a big effort into enhancing the appearance of the town despite what was revealed in the IBAL table.
“In 2011 we improved six points in the Bord Failte Tidy Towns competition and since 2007 we have improved our marks year on year. The people involved in the Tidy Towns group do a tremendous amount of work and hopefully this will encourage more people to go out and given them a hand on the streets of the town,” said the mayor.
She said it was obvious that Bord Failte and IBAL use different criteria when carrying out their assessment on a town’s performance.
“Our points in the Bord Failte Tidy Towns competition have increased by 26% since 2007. We are making progress. What was contained in the IBAL report was not all bad and it highlighted areas that can be worked on,” she said.
She believed that the judging in the IBAL report took place prior to the turning on of the new Victorian lighting system in the town which had improved the appearance of the town and that at the time of judging major roadworks were taking place in the town.
“Of course everybody is disappointed to be graded like that, third from the bottom. It is an enormous disappointment to all of the elected representatives and council officials and it must be a shock to everybody in the town,” said the mayor.
She appealed to the people to get involved in the Tidy Towns campaign and make themselves available to the group of people who are actively participating in weekly clean ups and maintenance work on green areas in the town.
Tidy Towns Chairman Brian Rafferty said that a major response was needed now to drive the town on in relation to its national standing concerning litter.
“We started up a voluntary clean up last year and because of the small numbers taking part we were only able to look after the car parks. A lot more bodies are needed and hopefully this is the wake up call that was needed and hopefully now more people will get on board,” said Mr Rafferty.
He said that there was a substantial number of groups already established to deal with the issue but that the final piece in the jigsaw would be the volunteer effort.
“Those groups are all there but its the volunteers on the ground that are needed if this is to be tackled properly,” he insisted.
“There is a significant voluntary system in place in other towns and it is working very well, and we have to see to it that such a voluntary effort is established in Tipperary Town if we are to improve on this,” he said.
He hoped that people would be annoyed to see Tipperary town lie third bottom out of fifty three towns in a business litter league and that it would inspire them to join the dedicated voluntary group that was already working to keep the town tidy.
“We came together last year for the first time. Unfortunately we were only able to manage the car parks because of the number of people involved. It would be fantastic to see more people get involved in this effort, more bodies are needed,” he said.
The only other South Tipperary town to be judged by IBAL was Clonmel which was given a ‘Clean to European norms’ standard and was placed 28th in the league.
However Mayor Darren Ryan said the Irish Business Against Litter League had no credibility.
Mayor Ryan has criticised IBAL for the manner in which Clonmel has been treated. Clonmel has not once changed its regime in relation to dealing with its environment section and the maintenance of the town, and yet in the last 3 leagues that IBAL have published, the town has gone from number 6 to 47 and now back to 28.
“In contrast if we look at the town’s progress in the Tidy Towns competition, we have seen the town progress every single year with a gold medal being our latest achievement.
The mayor said that IBAL were invited to attend the December meeting of Clonmel Borough Council to explain why the town, in the last league fell back to 47th place. Mayor Ryan said the representative failed to provide any reasonable or justifiable explanation for the substantial drop in the league at the meeting.
He said that with the town having the honour of being selected as the entrant into the Entante Florale competition, the town needed to focus on what Tidy Towns are recommending to Clonmel rather than IBAL.