The county town has certainly cleaned up its act in the last 12 months, with the latest IBAL litter survey seeing Portlaoise rise from number 40 last year to an impressive 28 in this year’s table.
Judges with IBAL (Irish Business Against Litter) said that it was “a welcome return to ‘Clean to European norms’ status for Portlaoise”, after last year’s disappointing showing at the bottom of the table deemed Portlaoise ‘moderately littered’. With all the sites surveyed in the town found this year to be grade A and B, it was only the “litter blackspot” of Hepburn Court that brought down Portlaoise’s overall ranking.
Kathleen O’Brien of the Portlaoise Tidy Towns said she was absolutely thrilled with the town’s improved status, which has been the result of hard work between the Tidy Towns group, Laois County Council and numerous volunteers.
“A lot of derelict sites have been cleaned up and there’s been a big effort on litter in all the different areas,” she said. “Laois County Council have also made a huge effort in cleaning up the approach roads.”
Ms O’Brien said the Tidy Towns committee are out and about performing clean-ups and maintaining flowerbeds on a regular basis, but it is the pride of people in their own estates that really makes the difference.
“There are over 70 estates in the town and residents associations in a good lot of them, they are absolutely brilliant at keeping estates tidy,” she said. “Drive into the estates and you can see how well the residents associations are doing.”
In this year’s IBAL report, The People’s Park, Well Road, Main Street, Dunnes Stores, Portlaoise Leisure Centre, and the Lismard Roundabout to the Stradbally Road were all adjudicated grade A, while the railway station and the Portlaoise to Tullamore Road were grade B. Among the effusive praise heaped on the town, judges described many areas as being in excellent condition, with Dunnes Stores “a pristine site” and “a virtual absence of litter” noted in the People’s Park.
However, Hepburn Court on the town’s Ballyfin Road was described as being “in a terrible state”, not just littered but subjected to dumping.
“It was in a terrible state - where does responsibilty for same lie?” asked the IBAL report.