Longford has ranked among the tidiest towns and cities in Ireland, achieving joint third place alongside Tramore in the 2014 Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Anti-Litter League.
Run in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the Anti-Litter League sees An Taisce monitor towns in accordance with international grading standards.
It was an excellent result for Longford, as the town received the top litter grade in all sites surveyed and was deemed to be cleaner than European norms.
In a statement released by IBAL, the recycle facility by Shaw’s Department Store, Main Street and St Bridget’s Terrace were singled out for particular praise. “The cleanliness of the surroundings, coupled with the investment in St Mel’s Cathedral, have made Longford a most appealing town to visit,” the statement continued.
Each receiving a ‘Grade A’ mark, ten areas were surveyed: the N63 Roscommon approach road; the recycle facility by Shaw’s Department Store; Longford bus station; Longford railway station interior and exterior; New Street; the R194 Ballinalee approach road; Main Street; Longford Centre access and Bridget’s Terrace.
Chairperson of Longford Tidy Towns Andy O’Dowd said that he was delighted with the results.
“I’m very, very, very happy with the result.
“We got, from what I believe, 10 As out of 10, so it was a great result.
“I’m proud of all our volunteers for the way they stuck at it and ensured we kept our place on the top rung.”
Also acknowledging the effort made by council workers, and local organisations and individuals, Andy urged the people of Longford to get behind the Tidy Towns and help Longford to keep its top spot, or indeed, improve on it.
Thanking everybody involved, Andy went on to say that the “consistency we have had over the last few years has been great.”
Achieving such a high rank in the ratings is no mean feat, particularly with such a long way to climb, as Andy revealed, “in 2008 we were 47th in the competition, now we’ve come up to third which is a great achievement.”
Fine Gael TD for Longford-Westmeath, James Bannon, was also thrilled to hear the news, and congratulated all involved in achieving the accolade.
“I was delighted to see that Longford has been named as the third cleanest town in Ireland and was categorised as being cleaner than European norms,” Deputy Bannon said.
“This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication shown by volunteers and Longford Tidy Towns. Such a high ranking could not have been achieved were it not for the work they carry out on a daily basis.”
Echoing Andy’s sentiments, Deputy Bannon added that, “while great improvements have come, we need to build on the work of Longford Tidy Towns. There is still a need for the community to play their own individual parts in keeping the area litter free. This year’s success is a great encouragement to everyone in the community. Hopefully we can go one step further in next year’s survey.”
Cllr Seamus Butler also congratulated all involved in the “wonderful achievement”.
“This is another good news story for Longford,” said Cllr Butler, who is a member of Longford Tidy Towns, “and it shows that we take pride in our community and in our environs. Well done to all those involved in the upkeep of our towns and villages throughout the region.”