Bees abuzz as wildflower zone developed on canal in Offaly

Ger Scully

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Ger Scully

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editor@tullamoretribune.ie

TT1730GS

Work in progress on the wildflower meadow along the Grand Canal in Tullamore

ORK has commenced on a wildflower meadow at the Grand Canal, one of a series of projects planned by Tullamore Tidy Towns in the coming year.

The group also plans to plant trees between Pearse Park and the Scouts Den and to carry out landscaping at the railway bridge in Clonminch.

“We are also planning a significant project involving the painting of murals on gable walls around town, somewhat similar to the 'Waterford Walls' project, Tidy Towns Chairman Ray Carroll told members at the group's AGM, held on Zoom, last Wednesday night.

Tidy Towns also place to erect a seat outside Clonminch Cemetery, in memory of Emer Groonell, who was a dedicated volunteer with the group.

Mr Carroll said he was delighted that Team Tullamore has recently been re-established with membership from Offaly County Council, Tullamore and District Chamber, Waterways Ireland and Tullamore Tidy Towns.

“It is an objective of this group to strengthen pride of place and to raise the profile of Tullamore, contributing to the evolution of Tullamore as a quality visitor destination enhancing the attractiveness and vibrancy of the town and contributing to winning the national Supervalu Tidy Towns,” outlined the Tidy Towns chief.

Mr Carroll said the process was well advanced on a long term Tidy Towns development plan for Tullamore when Covid struck but it was hoped to finalise it and launch the plan during the autumn.

Addressing the issue of Covid, Mr Carroll reflected: “What a contrast we have seen in the past two years since our last AGM. As usual we were busy beavering away with clean-ups, litter picking and projects throughout 2019. 2020 on the other hand saw a complete shutdown of all Tidy Towns activities resulting in no competition with Covid 19 impacting society in a most unprecedented way.”

He said the group's efforts were recognised and rewarded at the Supervalu Tidy Towns Awards in September 2019 when they received another Gold Medal in the national competition – their 6th gold medal in a row.

“This achievement is due, in no small way, to the enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of the volunteers on our committee who, although busy with their own occupations and commitments, found time to turn out for meetings and regular routine tidy towns activities like litter picking, painting, weeding, planting etc.,” said Mr Carroll.

He added that “one of our strongest sources of support are the residents’ groups throughout the town and we say well done to them for their invaluable contribution to the way they look after their estates – this again drew very favourable comment from the Tidy Towns judge in the 2019 report.”

“The association would like to say a special word of thanks to the Credit Union who have encouraged participation by residents groups and the retail and business sectors of the town in their Tidy Tullamore initiative.”

Mr Carroll said he would also “like to acknowledge the help and support we got from members of Tullamore Chamber especially those involved in the hanging baskets project which has been an added attraction in the streetscape of the town in the past few years. Members of Chamber also helped out on litter pickups and cleanups and we appreciate that.”

He also paid tribute to Tullamore Canoe Club for the litter pickups they did on the Grand Canal.

Added Mr Carroll: “The hanging baskets and planters around town were watered by workers who came on board through a scheme overseen by Offaly Local Development Company. There is no way we or Chamber members could look after the plants on a regular systematic basis so this initiative worked very well for us.”

“As usual both the council and the Municipal District were a big support to us – not only in terms of funding but also in their work programmes and with their advice and encouragement for example through the Tidy Towns Network. Thanks to John Connelly, Colm Heeney and their staff and the Community & Enterprise staff. The work being done by council staff on street sweeping and litter picking has been justifiably acknowledged by the town’s placing in the IBAL anti litter league.”

Another achievement the group can be proud of, said Mr Carroll, is the 5th  Green Flag awarded for Lloyd Town Park, which is also always favourably mentioned by the TT judges.

The completion of the street enhancement programme has made a huge improvement to our town centre, outlined the Tidy Towns chief who added the group “looks forward to future projects like the Greenway upgrade, the Grand Canal Harbour, the Tullamore Living River project and the proposed network of cycle lanes.

Mr Carroll also acknmowledged the work being done by a number of individuals and community groups who carry out their litter picks around town.

“Their efforts are very much appreciated and contribute in no small way to the town’s achievements at national competitions,” he stressed.

“While 2020 may have been uneventful in TT terms we look forward with hope and enthusiasm to the resumption of activities in the near future. In this regard, while no official announcement has been made, we have been told that the national Tidy Towns competition will go ahead this year. We understand it will be based on entry form submissions and there will be no physical judging taking place on the ground – the adjudicators will assess each entry remotely.”

More detail on Tullamore Tidy Towns can be found on www.tullamoretidytowns.ie