A HEARTY congratulations to Kilkenny Borough Council, Keep Kilkenny Beautiful and various other individuals on the city’s most recent success – topping the list of IBAL’s annual anti-litter survey.
Not only has Kilkenny been categorised as ‘litter-free’ for the fourth year running by the competition’s judges, but we have now also been officially crowned the cleanest/tidiest place in Ireland for the first time. Not even tidiness stalwarts such as Killarney and Cavan could outstrip the Marble City this time.
A huge degree of credit must go to the new chairman of KKB David Fitzgerald, as well as former chair Sean Leahy and Elaine Bradshaw. The tireless efforts of voluntary groups are often the difference between the winners and runners-up of these competitions, and the also-rans.
And so, praise also must go to individuals like Norah Webster, whose ‘junior litter pickers’ have transformed the Newpark area into a refreshingly tidy space.
Senior engineer for the borough Kieran Fitzgerald and Town Clerk Brian Tyrrell can also enjoy the accolades. In times of tightened budgets and reduced staff numbers, careful resource management is a vital component of success.
And naturally, we owe a debt of gratitude to the council staff who are up and cleaning our streets before much of the city is even out of bed. On December 27, those staff were not working, and the appalling sight of City Hall covered in litter that morning serves to remind us of how vital their work is.
That there was two bins close by – neither of which was full – is an indicator that apathy remains one of the biggest obstacles to cleaner streets. Kilkenny City spent €1.5 million on cleaning up litter in 2011; money that could be used elsewhere if people just cared a little more.
But that should not detract from the enormously positive week it has been for Kilkenny; in terms of image, reputation, and progress made. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work, and the recognition is long overdue.
To mark the success, Kilkenny has received 10 beautiful copper beech trees for planting. They will make a valuable addition to the city’s greenery.
Now, Kilkenny must look ahead to defending its IBAL title next year, as well as set its sights on that most coveted crown – the Tidy Towns award. The council and various local groups will meet in the coming weeks to formulate a plan of action.