Portarlington Tidy Towns back in the game and 'going in the right direction'

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Portarlington Tidy Towns back in the game and 'going in the right direction'

Portarlington Tidy Towns and Gracefield GAA Club members

Portarlington Tidy Towns will welcome judges back this summer to see how it has progressed after a two-year break from the competition.

Chair of the Portarlington Tidy Towns Committee, Kevin Hoey, said they have worked hard to get small projects done giving them momentum to stay enthusiastic about the long term projects.

“Laois County Council acknowledged that there was no investment in Portarlington over the years and that it had become a commuters town with businesses closing down.

“In the last few years we have had some bit of investment and it is going in the right direction,” he said.

The new Barrow bridge between Laois and Offaly, cleaning up of the shiphouse area, getting a community noticeboard at the leisure centre and new flower bedding around the town has given the Tidy Towns group a new lease of life.

Mr Hoey said completing the small projects gives them a boost for the projects that are going to take longer. He said the investment is being drip fed from Laois County Council with ‘not the same’ amount of help from Offaly County Council.

“This has given us new enthusiasm to carry on. We are not getting quite the same from Offaly County Council which is not as proactive. There is a third of the town in Offaly, around 3,000 people it is a big area,” he said.

There is a five to 10-year plan to move all the overhead cables underground and install new lamps and paths.

He said dumping is a major issue in the town and the lack of a street maintenance programme is a huge burden on the tidy town's volunteers who cannot get around to the volume of dumping.

Despite this Portarlington is looking forward to seeing what the judges think and they plan on using the judges’ comments to approach councils for more help.