Bafflement at Tidy Towns score and judges’ report

The chairman of Keep Kilkenny Beautiful has questioned Kilkenny’s result in the latest Tidy Towns competition, announced last week at a ceremony in Dublin.

The chairman of Keep Kilkenny Beautiful has questioned Kilkenny’s result in the latest Tidy Towns competition, announced last week at a ceremony in Dublin.

While Kilkenny received its highest-ever mark of 309 points, it was not sufficient to clinch the overall crown. Now Sean Leahy, who was named as one of Ireland’s 13 ‘SuperValu Tidy Town Heroes’, says the result does not reflect the level of work that has been undertaken in Kilkenny this past year.

“I’m disappointed to be honest, I had thought that we would do better,” he told the Kilkenny People.

“A huge amount of work has been done, and it is unbelieveable that we haven’t gained a single point in any category, bar one.”

This year, Kilkenny scored just one point higher than last year – in the category of ‘Wildlife and Natural Amenities’. For ‘Tidiness’, Kilkenny has scored 17 out of 30 every year for the last five years, for ‘Residential Areas’, Kilkenny has scored 30 from 40 for the past five years also. ‘Roads, Streets and back areas has remained the same four years in a row. In ‘Landscaping’, Kilkenny has been stuck on 44 marks for the past three years, despite a lot of work done in areas such as Bateman Quay and the Freshford Road.

Mr Leahy, who will retire from his position as KKB chairman in the near future, has said it is not totally clear where some improvements could have been made. For example, in the ‘Tidiness’ category, where Kilkenny has scored little more than half marks consistently for five years, the adjudicators appear to find fault with some road works, and traffic aggravated by ‘heavy rain’.

The only other comments made are that graffiti is “by no means a city-wide problem”, and that the ‘wirescape’ is steadily improving.

“Overall,” concludes the judge, “no serious tidiness issues were evident on adjudication day.”

Mr Leahy says the scores are thus puzzling.

“I think there has been a big improvement in those categories; if you can’t see that, you need to go to Specsavers,” he said.

“If you follow the judges’ logic – and it’s hard to follow their logic – if we hadn’t done the level of work just to maintain the same scores, where would we be?”