THERE were celebrations in Tullamore this week with the news that it is the ninth cleanest town in the county.
The latest figures released by IBAL show Tullamore as "Clean to European Norms" giving the town it's highest position in the table ever.
To mark its top ten position, Tullamore will receive a number of birch trees for planting locally. These are provided by the Irish Tree Centre, an IBAL member based in County Cork (www.treecentre.ie).
An Taisce, who carried out the survey, commented on Tullamore: "A great result for Tullamore. With eight out of the ten sites surveyed getting the top litter grade Tullamore has scored very well indeed. Tullamore Railway Station was equal first among the railway stations in the survey.
"The remaining two were just Grade B. What sets Tullamore and other very high scoring town apart is the overall presentation of the top ranking sites e.g. Tullamore Railway Station, The Harbour, Dunnes Stores Car Park and Scoil Iosagin, to name but a few. These sites were not just clear of litter but very well maintained."
The Portarlington and Edenderry Approach Roads both received Grade A, as did Tullamore Railway station which was described as "not only was there a complete absence of litter throughout but the overall environment is enhanced by some colourful flowering – a credit to all those responsible."
There was a Grade A as well for Colmcille Street which has well presented shop fronts as "was a very clean shopping street with plenty of litter bins and some litter awareness notices."
The Harbour, which again received a Grade A was regarded in the report as having an attractive environment which has been very well cared for by those responsible for the maintenance and respected by the users.
"An extensive area which was in excellent condition – a credit to those responsible – there were plenty of litter bins in the area surveyed," is how Scoil Iosagin was referred to earning it a Grade A.
The Dunnes Stores Car Park, again a Grade A recipient was regarded as being exceptionally well served by litter bins. "Colourful planting also contributed to the positive impression created at this car park. It was very well maintained," said the report.
Ardan Vale received a Grade A under the Residential area section. "Both the individual properties and public areas within this residential area were clear of litter – a well maintained environment overall," read the report.
The Dublin Approach Road was awarded a Grade B with loose scatterings of a wide variety of litter, much of it food related, "taking away from what is a very fresh and well presented route into Tullamore."
Finally the a small amount of litter along the road side, much of it in the field beside the canal adjacent to the halting site, also saw the Clara Approach Road losing points to bring it down to a Grade B.
Chairman of Tullamore Tidy Towns Cllr Tommy McKeigue said it's been a long journey up. "We came from the bottom in 2004 to the top ten now. A lot of work went into it over the last three years. The 28 residents associations deserve great credit for how they looked after their end," said Cllr McKeigue.
He also paid tribute to Town Engineer, Paul Devaney, Town Manager Declan Kirrane and Town Clerk Ruth McNally for their efforts. "They had a huge interest in getting us up that league. It's costing money but we have to spend money on litter," said Cllr McKeigue.
He said a contributory factor was the increase in litter fines handed out, with cameras installed at bottle banks adding to this. "Fines are severe at €250 per offence," he said.
He also paid tribute to the Tidy Towns who have been out working every Tuesday. "We concentrated on approach roads," he said adding that roads off the bypass are often littered by passing motorists.
"We are going in the right direction in terms of IBAL and the Tidy Towns. We are in the big league now," said Cllr McKeigue.