Annoyance and general frustration was the mood for some Tidy Town entrants throughout Laois after the 2003 Tidy Towns report was published last week. Peeved by low marks and judges’ remarks, several of the villages and towns in the county felt that Laois County Council had let them down and others questioned the Tidy Towns adjudicators’ reports themselves.
Liam Rohan, chairperson of the Shanahoe Tidy Towns committee, who scored 217 out of a total of 300 marks in this year’s competition, told the Leinster Express that were “very disappointed with the report”, adding: “how could you expect miracles when Laois County Council had let us down in regards to the state of the village’s footpaths and roads?”
Mr Rohan said of the tiny village, which did not even have a shop, it was “very difficult for Shanahoe to compete against places such as Ballacolla, which had much greater facilities”.
He added that Shanahoe would no longer take things lying down and had begun a petition to persuade Laois County Council to release some of the surplus funding of €150,000 which had reportedly surfaced in the local authority coffers.
Meanwhile, in Attanagh the Tidy Towns committee is completely confused by the report they received. They have contacted the Tidy Towns adjudicators to try to explain exactly what is needed to improve their marks in next year’s competition.
John Sheeran told the Leinster Express they received an extra mark this year in the ‘Wildlife and Natural Amenities’ section, which the committee had not even worked on. They felt that the report did not recognise the work which the committee had carried out on the Durrow Road, after spending over €2,000 on improvements in that area.
In Ratheniska, the Tidy Towns committee were “disappointed and frustrated” having also achieved only one extra mark in this year’s competition.
Ann Lowery said the report had deemed the village “virtually litter free” and yet they had not even awarded them an extra mark. She added that the committee were “very annoyed” with the report and questioned how could they manage to gather momentum for next year’s competition when the people who had given so freely of their time this year were now so truly disheartened.
In Portlaoise, there is some bewilderment that they had dropped two marks in the competition to 218 points, saying they deserved a better result. In a statement issued by the Tidy Towns committee, Kathleen O’Brien revealed that they were very disappointed with the results, with the contention among the committee being that Portlaoise had “never looked better or more attractive”.