A little more civic spirit is the final ingredient in the perfect recipe for Tidy Towns success, according to Fine Gael councillor and Keep Kilkenny Beautiful chairman David Fitzgerald.
In light of the city’s recent first-place finish in the IBAL survey, the borough council now regard a Tidy Towns triumph as a very realistic aspiration. The local authority spends around E1 million each year on street cleaning and litter management, and Cllr Fitzgerald says it is up to the people to do that little bit extra to get us there.
“I would invite all citizens to come forward – your help is needed,” he said.
“The citizens of Kilkenny have a responsibility to keep Kilkenny beautiful.”
The councillor also paid tribute to his uncle and former city mayor Kieran Fitzgerald, who he said exemplifies the civic spirit to which he refers. Mr Fitzgerald, who is in his eighties, took it upon himself to routinely tidy the area from John’s Bridge along Bateman Quay.
“He would drive down at 6am and pick up all the litter from the night before,” said Cllr Fitzgerald.
“He was instrumental in dealing with one of the litter blackspots identified previously by IBAL. It is that sort of voluntary effort and spirit that is needed to win IBAL and the Tidy Towns.”
There had been some dissatisifaction with how Kilkenny had been judged by IBAL in past years, and Mayor Sean O’ hArgain has said he is delighted the city was now receiving due recognition with the award. Both he and Cllr Fitzgerald said they hoped this success would translate similarly to the Tidy Towns competition, whose report and judges’ comments in 2012 came in for some criticism from the council also.
In related news, referring to the events of December 27 in which City Hall was strewn with litter, the mayor paid tribute to local business Supermacs, whose staff assisted with the clean-up operation. He said the council would be meeting with all fast-food franchises on High Street to ensure more uniformity of opening hours and litter regimes in 2013.