Fermoy announced as cleanest town in Ireland

Fermoy was announced as the cleanest town in Ireland at a ceremony in Dublin today. In the 2006 survey of litter levels in 53 towns and cities by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL), Fermoy pipped Dundalk as the overall winner of the league for 2006. Both were among 26 towns to be classed as litter-free – an improvement on 2005. The winning town received a special plaque from the Minister for State at the Department the Environment, Batt O’Keefe T.D.

The final results show the average Irish litter level is only 3 percentage points away from the European litter norm of 80 points. This is a huge improvement since 2002 when the survey began and the average town in Ireland was classed as a ‘litter blackspot’. The number of litter-free towns increased to 26, while ‘litter blackspot’ towns remained at just 4. The League is run in conjunction with the Department of the Environment.

“These results show that we have almost reached the target we set in 2001 to make Irish towns as clean as their European counterparts,” comments IBAL Chairman Dr Tom Cavanagh. “Despite increased consumption and urbanisation, there is no doubt that our towns are becoming a cleaner place to live and work in. In 2002, we had just 2 towns achieving ‘litter-free status’ or 80 points. It’s the 7 towns graded ‘seriously littered’ or worse that need to be targeted including Dublin City Centre.”

An Taisce, in its report on Fermoy, commented: Fermoy has scored exceptionally well. Almost all the sites (bar two) were not only clear of litter but very well maintained. A couple deserve special mention: Fermoy Park and Leisure Centre is a very large area yet it was exceptional. The Car Park at Mill Island was immaculate and in perfect condition.

The IBAL Anti Litter League is the largest ever litter survey conducted in Ireland, with all areas of over 6,000 population covered over the course of the year, ensuring that the areas covered, have an overall population of close to 2 million people. Sites are graded by An Taisce according to international standards.

According to IBAL, it is the transparency and competitiveness of its ‘Name and Shame’ approach that has spurred local government into action on litter. Other towns, notably Fermoy, have successfully adopted the formula on a local level. “Those in charge of poorly performing areas have a responsibility to ask why they are not doing likewise.”