Portlaoise Cllrs got down and dirty last Saturday in efforts to clean up their local river.
Cllrs Kathleen O’Brien and Alan Hand donned their wellies along with members of Portlaoise Tidy Towns and Mountmellick Trout Angling Club to do some housekeeping on the river Triogue. The small group spent nearly five hours clearing litter, weeds and bushes out of the stretch of the river from JFL Avenue to Millview. Among the larger items pulled out were a bicycle, shopping trolleys, metal barrels and timber. They gathered more than a dozen sackfuls of rubbish which county hall disposed of, having provided the gloves, litter pickers and bags for the clean-up.
It was satisfying work for Cllr O’Brien, who had suggested the clean up several months ago during a council meeting.
“You can see the river is flowing better already, the fish can be seen clearer, I do find it very satisfying. We will get some nice big smooth stones to put in it now,” she explained.
Cllr Hand is a member of the angling club and was happy to clean the river.
“It’s something we did last year too. If it’s not done, the river goes to rack and ruin with silt and rubbish. A fishing permit for the Barrow is E30, which covers the Triogue too, as it is a tributary. We’re very happy with it, you could see the difference immediately,” he said.
At the meeting Cllr Jerry Lodge had disagreed with volunteers cleaning the river, saying council workers should do it, but Cllr Hand saw no problem with helping out.
“We’re not filling potholes, it’s just local volunteers giving a hand,” he said.
The next project planned is a fresh coat of paint to cover graffitti at Fitzmaurice Place.
“That’s a big job, so any volunteers are welcome to join us,” Cllr O’Brien said.
Also helping out at the river was Tidy towns volunteer Vincent Booth from Portlaoise.
“I wanted to get involved with Tidy Towns and do something, rather than giving out about it,” he said.