Brexit will force Ireland to develop EU links and Abbeyleix Tidy Towns is getting an early chance to put Laois on the European radar.
On the back of its Gold Medal performance at last year's national competition the committee has been chosen to represent Ireland in the ‘Entente Florale Europe.’
Abbeyleix is entered in the village section alongside a village in Monaghan.
Judging is not taking place until the summer, but the Abbeyleix committee wants to get a head start.
To kick the campaign off an information meeting will be held on Monday, February 20 at 8pm in the Manor Hotel, Abbeyleix. Tidy Towns stalwart, Mary White hopes as many people will come along to decide on a plan for the competition.
She said participation will put the pressure on to get the ball rolling a lot earlier than normal, so it is hoped more people will get involved.
Run by the Association Européenne du Fleurissement et du Paysage, the annual contest aims to promote a greener and more pleasant environment in European towns and villages.
An extra aim is to facilitate international contacts among the participating towns and villages network.
Through this annual competition, public authorities, private bodies and individuals are encouraged to cooperate in beautifying their towns and villages thereby improving the quality of life for both inhabitants and visitors, by the planting of flowers and shrubs, by the development and maintenance of green spaces and parks and by generally fostering development which is ecologically and environmentally sensitive.
Other countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungrary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia.