Abbeyleix Tidy Towns reviews 2017 success in AGM report

Express Reporter

Reporter:

Express Reporter

Laois Tidy Towns 2017: Have you seen all of the results yet?

Eileen Quinn congratulation the hard working Abbeylex Tidy Towns members on Monday, September 25 2017. Photo credit: Abbeyleix Facebook page.

There was a packed room for the Abbeyleix Tidy Towns AGM last Wednesday night.

The following is a comprehensive annual report for 2017-18.

Our success to date is attributed to the close partnerships we have developed with Laois County Council, Laois Partnership, DSP, Abbeyleix Bog Project, Abbeyleix Heritage Company, Abbeyleix Park Development, APEC, GIY Local Community, and ABC we would not have achieved our success without all our key players. The strengths of collaboration was very much in evidence in 2017.

We participated in National Tree week in conjunction with the local branch of the Dunamaise beekeepers in March. With the assistance of our C.E scheme Tidy Towns planted 1,000 bare root trees including edible hedging in the schools, on the approach road from Portlaoise and in Fairways housing estate.

It is important to note the work of Tidy Towns is not just for the summer months it continues through the year.

Reviewing our success in 2017 we have a lot to be proud of. Receiving the Gold Medal in 2017 was the ultimate reward for a very small Tidy Towns Committee who work tirelessly to promote Abbeyleix as a great place to work and live. We were very disappointed that we lost 6 marks in the National competition. Total prize money was €1,900

The categories that points were lost were Tidiness and Litter control 3 points. Approach Rd and Lanes 3 points. The format for the National Competition is to be overhauled in 2018 so we must look forward rather than backwards. Abbeyleix won the Environmental Award in Laois Community and Voluntary Competition against strong competition. The prize money was € 500

- ACTIONS IN 2017 -

We removed two stone flower beds at Balladine and a concrete bin. The flower bed at the entrance to the estate was replanted with pollinator friendly plants.

The fountain at little Balladine was repaired and a new water pump fitted. Thanks to Noel Byrne all fountain in the town have running water. The pump were removed for the winter storage, water will be flowing again in the spring. We rebuilt the stone wall on the Well Rd funding was sourced from LCC under the EFE grant allocation

We have introduced the Junior All- Ireland Pollinator- Plan 2015-2020 in both schools. We are engaging with local bee-keepers as part of our pollination plan. Margaret Jacob from the GIY Group assisted the children from Jelly Tots crèche planting vegetables in the local allotments.

The WEEE recycling cages which provided a great service to the community for the disposal of electrical equipment, for a number of years had to be discontinued because of constant abuse of the service & H&S concerns

The EFE journey started in Jan 2017 it required a lot of time,dedication, mentoring ,monitoring, and huge financial commitment from Laois County Council and collaboration and engagement of the community and all Tidy Towns committee members . We were very fortunate that new members joined the committee in 2017 which was most welcomed. They were very proactive and possessed many skills which lessened the heavy workload in preparation for the EFE adjudication day 7/7/2017

Tidy Towns are indebted to Ann-Marie Kelly from the environment Section of Laois County Council . Ann-Marie’s dedication for seven month was incredible as indeed was CE John Mulholland Michael Rainey, Wes Wilkinson and Roy Glynn. Ann Marie and all the staff of the Environment Section and Catherine Casey Heritage Officer are always very supportive.

Laois Partnership for their ongoing financial support special thanks to Mark Clancy for his great interest in tidy towns and to Pat Doody Tus Supervisor for providing Tus participant to tidy towns which is much appreciated

The work of Tidy Towns would be just aspirational without the tremendous support we receive from so many of our key partners. We are custodians of a fantastic heritage town and we all have a responsibility to protect promote and enhance the towns great assets. We gratefully appreciate the tremendous support we receive from Noel Byrne our C.E supervisor and the great C.E team who take great pride in the work they do . Jim Malone our RSS Park Ranger for keeping Fr Breen in pristine condition thought the year.

Abbeyleix Bog Project, Park Development, the Women’s Group , the Manager and staff of Heritage House are always very supportive.

We compliment the lights committee for the huge effort to make Abbeyleix so festive looking in 2017. Dog fouling continues to be a major problem in Abbeyleix.

Many thanks to our Chairman John Joe, we keep extra busy all year round and is very patient despite the constant demands on his time he is always willing to assist us with any problems we have in Tidy Towns.

Jackie Walsh our Treasurer who keeps a watchful eye on our finances she was kept extra busy in 2017.

The ultimate aim of the project is to put practical measures in place to enable Abbeyleix become a “sustainable energy community. We are delighted to announce that this will be progress in 2018

We compliment and thank the local business on the great effort they make painting and maintaining their premises. The recent upgrade to car parking and pollinator planting area in front of Abbeyleix Manor Hotel is a great asset to the town.

A huge thank you to our small delegation to Slovenia , John Joe ,Betty, Noel, Ann-Marie and Donal Brennan who represented the town and county so well. It is fair to say they had the best exhibition stand at the Trade Fair in Slovenia thanks to the great generosity of our local food/beverage producers. Helen Gee, First Ireland Spirits, Marie Quinn and local honey producers.

A special word of thanks to Jonathan Carty who is so committed to keeping the town clean and takes great pride in his work. Jonathan is out and about when most of Abbeyleix is sleeping.

Robbie Quinn our great PRO for the personal time and effort he put into maintaining the Abbeyleix Facebook page which keeps everyone update with all our activities. We note that EFE still like the page

Robbie drew up a very impressive landscaping plan for the Green Area in front of Scoil Mhuire. Tidy Towns provided the landscaper Bluebell Nurseries

Sincere thanks to Aubrey Hutchinson from Westlands who supplied a pallet of peat free compost for the flower beds at the school he also donated several boxes of plant food to tidy towns

Our sincere thanks to Paula Maher, Manager of Heritage House, preparing Heritage House for our meeting tonight and the staff of Heritage House, Trudy, Lesley & and Jonathan, for their ongoing support when odd jobs are presented to them from Tidy Towns.

The generosity of so many people , clubs and financial institution was unbelievable. Our thanks to Laois County Council for their grant aid for EFE it enabled a lot of additional work to be carried out in the town that will have long term benefits.

Our thanks to Bank of Ireland Abbeyleix, People First Credit Union Portlaoise ,Abbeyleix and District Lions Club, Scoil Mhuire and two anonymous donors for additional financial support. Additional support was received from Dunnes Garden Centre, Crown Paints ,Dunnes Hardware Nicky Guilfoyle. Manager staff and service users from Dove House.

To Jenny Alex April and the staff of Abbeyleix Manor Hotel a sincere that you for all your support in 2017 it was much appreciated.

Garrett Kelly Chairman of Fairways Residence Association excelled in presenting their estate to a very high standard. Dove captured the essence of what the day was all about. Ricky for his inspirational tour on Abbeyleix Bog, Brian did an excellent presentation which impressed the judges . Ann Marie Maher for giving a tour and background information on Sult na Mara and Fr Breen Park. Eoin O’Reilly for excelling at the Puck fada. Fr Ahern and Canon Harvey gave very informative tours on the Church of the Most Holy Rosary and St Michaels and All Angels . Thanks to Ruth Wallace and pupils of the South School for reassuring us that the protection of the environment in in safe hands,

Bernie Foran gave told the story of the transition of the Market House into the magnificent Award Winning Public Library and Art Gallery.

Thanks to Euge for his talk on beekeeping in the Community Garden so engaged the judges they wanted immediate membership of the Dunamaise Beekeepers association.

Thanks to Jackie for providing the information on Knocknamoe Sculpture Park which was transformed from a derelict site by a Community Employment Scheme

Our sincere thanks to the Nationalist, Leinster Express and Laois today and RTE for the generous coverage of our EFT journey. The short expose on Nationwide has had a knock positive commercial effect on the town. Reports from the hotel and local business is increased visitors numbers .

Last but not least a big” Thank You” to the Ballyroan Brass Band and Abbeyleix Parish Choir for complimenting the great sense of occasion for Abbeyleix on 7/7/2017

Without the additional assistance from all our partners it would not be possible for Tidy Towns to continue in our quest to make Abbeyleix and great place to live and work. It takes a lot of energy,vision and support to enhance a town and community. It was ever present in 2017 .

If we have omitted anyone from the supporter list our apologies.

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