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Cleaning up with IBAL success highlights Ennis’ appeal

ENNIS’ success in this year’s Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) survey along with other recent successes has highlighted the town’s appeal as a place to live, work and visit. That’s according to Mayor of Ennis Councillor Paul Murphy, one of a number who welcomed this week’s announcement that the county capital had achieved the highest cleanliness level in the most recent IBAL nationwide litter survey. Eight out of 10 sites surveyed in the town by An Taisce were awarded the top litter grade with the town found to be “cleaner than European norms”.
The first nationwide litter survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) since the Covid-19 crisis shows Ennis to be again ‘Cleaner than European Norms’ climbing to sixth spot in the ranking of 40 towns and cities nationwide.
The county capital has bucked the trend with a nationwide dramatic fall in the number of towns and cities deemed to be ‘clean’ in the survey, its lowest level since 2007. The survey showed PPE litter to be widespread across the country and a rise in the prevalence of cans and glass bottles.
The Taisce report for Ennis stated, “A recent IBAL winner, Ennis continues to perform very strongly in the IBAL League, with eight out of the ten sites surveyed getting the top litter grade. Some examples of the top ranking sites included Abbey Street Car Park (home to IBAL sculpture), Abbey Street, Tim Smythe Park and Clare County Museum – these sites were not just good with regard to litter but were very well presented and maintained. Gort Road Business Park was by far the most heavily littered site surveyed – a couple of isolated areas within the business park took away from the remaining clean areas.”
Reacting to the announcement of Ennis’ ranking Councillor Murphy stated, “I am very glad to see that Ennis is one of the highest-rated towns for litter cleanliness, and that so many of the sites in the town received an ‘A’ rating. This follows the recent ‘Begin Together’ award, given in recognition of the powerful partnership between businesses, the local authority and the community in Ennis, as well as the town’s vision and its plans for the future. We can all be very proud of these achievements, which are well deserved.”
Leonore O’Neill, Senior Executive Officer, Ennis Municipal District (MD), Clare County Council, added, “This positive result is a reflection of the hard work undertaken by Ennis MD staff, street-cleaning crews, the gardening section of Clare County Council and the work of community and voluntary groups, in particular Ennis Tidy Towns.
“It’s a credit to the general public and reflects the strong community spirit that we have in Ennis.”
Cormac McCarthy, Chairman, Ennis Tidy Towns, said, “Ennis Tidy Towns are delighted with the town’s ranking in Round 1 of the 2020 IBAL Anti-Litter League. Litter management in the town is a concerted effort by not only Tidy Towns volunteers but by Ennis MD staff and local businesses. We would warmly welcome new volunteers to join our ranks, such as our local Hope Church congregation, who undertook a dedicated clean-up of the railway station recently. We were delighted to see the railway station improve its ranking to grade A in this survey.”
Carmel Kirby, Director of Services, Physical Development Directorate, Clare County Council, said, “Achieving the highest level in the IBAL nationwide litter survey is testament to the effort and commitment that goes into maintaining the town’s cleanliness. Ennis is a medieval town characterised by charming streetscapes, and its appeal is greatly enhanced by a clean, litter-free environment.”
An Taisce deemed 23 towns to be ‘clean’, a fall of over 20 per cent on last year. The number of towns reaching the highest cleanliness level – ‘cleaner than European norms’ – dropped by a quarter, to nine.
IBAL’s Conor Horgan revealed PPE litter was prevalent across the country, with masks 5 times as common as gloves. “Understandably, people are reluctant to pick up these items for fear of contracting Covid, so they tend to stay on the ground. We need to see a rapid rise in the use of reusable masks,” he said.
He added, “In these exceptional times, when councils’ resources are stretched, civic responsibility is called for more than ever. “The mantra ‘we’re all in this together’ extends to the proper disposal of waste, not least waste that is prone to contamination. With fewer people available or willing to pick up litter, the message has to be ‘don’t litter in the first place.’”
Set up in 1996, Irish Business Against Litter is an alliance of companies sharing a belief that continued economic prosperity – notably in the areas of tourism, food and direct foreign investment – is contingent on a clean, litter-free environment.
As part of the IBAL Anti-Litter League, An Taisce monitors towns independently and in accordance with international grading standards. 2020 is the 18th year of the IBAL Anti-Litter League.

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