Opinion: Strong measures needed to combat growing menace of illegal dumping
After writing a column last year about dog fouling in my nearby town of Abbeyleix, word filtered through that the secretary of the local Tidy Towns committee, Mary White, wanted to talk to me.
When we did connect, I feared I was going to be taken to task for my comments.
But I was pleasantly surprised (and a little relieved) when Mary said that she totally agreed with what I had said.
What a mature and pragmatic reaction! It would have been very easy to shoot the messenger. But she instead said that they were already working on a plan to deal with the problem. Concerned local dog owners subsequently took charge of the initiative.
It was no surprise, then, that Abbeyleix recently emerged as county winner in the 2017 Tidy Towns competition.
The beautiful heritage town also recently secured a Silver Medal in the 2017 Entente Florale Europe competition, which aims to promote and greener and more pleasant environment in European towns and villages. Ireland's other entry, Glaslough, Co Monaghan, won a Gold.
In the same competition, Abbeyleix Bog - which is managed by a community-based voluntary organisation and encompasses an area of almost 500 acres of diverse habitats including degraded (but recovering) raised bog and woodland - won the President's Prize for the best biodiversity project.
Hearty congratulations to all concerned.