KILKENNY is the cleanest, most litter-free place in the country.
The city pipped Cavan and Killarney to take the top spot in the annual Irish Business Against Litter ( IBAL ) final announced at a ceremony in Dublin today.
The survey showed that 80pc of towns are as clean, or cleaner, than their European counterparts.
This is the first time that Kilkenny city, which has been ranked litter-free for the past four years, has won the competition.
It was one of 22 towns to be deemed ‘cleaner than European norms’ this year.
In its judges remarks, An Taisce, which conducts the litter surveys, said all of the sites surveyed for litter in Kilkenny were clean.
The approach roads were in particularly good order, the heritage body said.
“ The footpath and road surface along High Street have been very attractively paved and The Parade looked fantastic – a wide open sweep, flanked by trees to one side and terraced buildings to the other.”
The judges singled the riverbank area for special mention as it had previously been problematic, but all graffiti had now been erased.
To mark its success, the town will receive a suite of ten copper beach trees provided by the Irish Tree Centre based in Cork.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, IBAL chairman Dr Tom Cavanagh, likened the progress made on litter to that of road safety.
“ Each January we hear the welcome news that the numbers killed on our roads has again fallen.”
“ In particular, the attitude to drink driving has been transformed in a way that would have seemed unthinkable some years ago.”
Dr Cavanagh added: “ There are parallels with the improvements we are now seeing in cleanliness levels.”
“ We might have viewed ourselves traditionally as a less than tidy nation, but the results tell a different story.”
Apart from certain areas in our cities, we were becoming one of the cleanest societies in Europe, the anti-litter chief added.