Laois’ retired soldiers were again doing service for their county last week, when they enlisted to help Portlaoise Tidy Towns.
Members of Post 27, the United Nations veterans association in Laois, engaged in battle with an overgrown section of the Triogue river in Mill View, Portlaoise beside their headquarters on Mill Lane.
At the request of Portlaoise Tidy Towns group, the members armed themselves with tools, and donned the hi-vis jackets, wellies and gloves.
They cleared away years of overgrowth and rubbish clogging up the small river, which was then removed by Laois County council.
Post 27 returning to give the rusted railings a lick of fresh black paint.
“This is probably the worst section of the river in the town, we found a bike, drink bottles, even a shopping trolley with the euro still stuck in it,” said Paddy Hardy.
The group also maintain the nearby plaza Fitzmaurice Place on behalf of Portlaoise Tidy Towns.
Secretary of Portlaoise Tidy Towns Kathleen O’Brien is glad of their support.
“I am actually delighted they cleared it, it was brilliant to have that help. It was a huge job, it took them several days,” she said.
The Post 27 headquarters on Mill View is open daily from 10 to 2.30, for members to drop in for tea and a chat.
Membership is open to anyone who served with the UN overseas, be it in the navy or army. They formed ten years ago and now have 42 members.
As well as attending national commemorations, funerals of members and remembrance days, their community work is becoming much in demand.
“We will be busy painting three houses for three pensioners in O’Moore Place next week, and doing wreath layings in Clara and then Mullingar after that. Our aim is to support and advise members,” said chairman Fred Reilly, wielding a strimmer to great aplomb, army style.
“I’m giving it a short back and sides,” he laughed.
Call Post 27 at 8666055