Clean Portlaoise a ‘trojan effort’ by volunteers and council staff

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

The view of Main Street, Portlaoise.

Portlaoise’s rise to number 11 out of 40 Irish towns in the IBAL anti-litter league, was praised by council management and councillors.

Portlaoise Town Manager Kieran Kehoe said it is “a credit to staff, cleaning crews, traders and Tidy Towns groups, who work tirelessly, a trojan effort”.

He said a substantial amount of money has been invested to clean up Portlaoise, which was branded as the dirtiest town in Ireland 2011 by IBAL.

“We have invested in cleaning equipment, and we have 56 planters now around the town, which helps improve the perception of those who are living here, working here and visiting,” Mr Kehoe said.

Cllr Jerry Lodge is also chairman of Portlaoise Tidy Towns.

“Portlaoise can take a great deal of credit and praise. I compliment the tidy towns workers, business people, residents associations, and council outdoor staff all who are doing this willingly with 100 percent commitment. So many people are making a contribution, however there is a huge degree of littering as you approach the town, black bags and all sorts of rubbish,” he said.

The Cathaoirleach of Portlaoise MD Cllr Mary Sweeney praised schoolchildren for volunteering with tidy towns.

“I saw three very young lads, only 9 or 10 years old, and I thought what a great civic response, it is very important at this age in life that they learn civic responsibility,” she said.


The dirtiest area noted by IBAL judges was Pepper’s Lane, labelled “very poor”, with a boarded up property “riddled with graffiti”, and “heavy levels of a wide variety of food related litter”.

However along with two more lanes off Portlaoise main street, the lane is set to get a makeover by Laois County Council this year.


Below is the full report on Portlaoise by An Taisce judges, who graded 40 Irish towns and cities on behalf of Irish Businesses Against Litter.

Continued improvement for Portlaoise, which has now established itself as consistently Clean to European Norms. The Recycle Facility at the Motor Tax Office was in much better condition that in the previous survey when it was heavily littered - this time around it was litter-free.

Other top ranking sites included Portlaoise Train Station, Market Square and Main Street - these sites were well presented and maintained. Pepper’s Lane was by far the most heavily littered site surveyed.


R922 Approach Road: Grade A. this is a modernised approach in to the town of Portlaoise with pavement to one side and rough grass to the other. Road surface and markings and pavement were in good order. There was a virtual absence of litter in the area surveyed.


Market Square: Grade A. The overall presentation of Market Square was a fresh one. The paving, seating, bins and general streetscape were in very good condition. Apart from some chewing gum at the car parking area there was a virtual absence of litter throughout.


Main Street: Grade A. There was attractive paving along much of this street and the bollards and bins were in good condition. No major litter issues were noted.


Derelict Building on Railway Street: Grade B. This boarded up residential unit is well on its waya to becoming heavily littered. The fanlight window as broken and signage / notice boards associated with the house is strewn on the ground. There was a wide variety of litter.


Portlaoise Train Station - External: Grade A. The ‘olde’ style station building looked very well. The entrance and car park were generally clear of litter. Signage and car park surface were in good condition.


Portlaoise Train Station - Internal: Grade A. The station platform and bridge were very much in the ‘olde’ style of the station while the waiting room is much more modern. It was clean, bright and comfortable looking.