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In the bag... it was a Good Friday for some spring cleaning


Tony McCoy and Paul O'Connell push the boat out for the Limerick spring clean

Tony McCoy and Paul O'Connell push the boat out for the Limerick spring clean

Alan Place/fusionshooters

Tony McCoy and Paul O'Connell push the boat out for the Limerick spring clean

LIMERICK claims to be the tidiest county in Ireland today after rugby hero Paul O'Connell and racing legend Tony McCoy rolled up their sleeves for a massive spring clean.

More than 10,000 volunteers donned hi-vis jackets and gloves to gather 40,000 bags of rubbish on Good Friday.

Organisers say it was the biggest one-day clean-up ever staged in Ireland and the village of Murroe in Co Limerick claimed the largest turnout, with over 700 volunteers.

Another 300 volunteers turned out to support the campaign in Southill while 500 people in Corbally used litter pickers and cloths to help clean up their area.

The Team Limerick Clean-Up (TLC) brought together families, businesspeople, political rivals and community groups.

Even the monks from Glenstal Abbey were on hand for a Good Friday blessing. Brother Anthony Keane was among those who set off for a riverbank clean-up on the renowned Ilen Gandelow boats.

Event sponsor JP McManus said the the reaction to the Team Clean Up has been "phenomenal".

"I never imagined it would become what it has. Limerick people have such great pride in their city and county, and I am just so happy they have embraced this idea. It would be nice if this could become an annual thing," he said.

"What is great about this is a lot of communities are gathering together, neighbours who have never met, and there are 60 locations after the event where people are meeting for a cup of tea, a scone or a hot cross bun. Hopefully this will be the beginning of something big."

Paul O'Connell brought his five-year-old son Paddy along for the workout with a difference.

"Certainly, for me and my family, the TLC has created a healthy discussion about the importance of looking after your community, taking pride in your area and how litter picking plays a huge part in this.

"It's great to be involved in a clean-up initiative which is inclusive of everyone throughout the community, from girl guides to senior Cabinet ministers," he said.

There was one incident when a pensioner taking part had to be rescued from a canal.

The 75-year old was doing his bit to clean up the Canal Bank walkway off Clare Street when he attempted to retrieve a life ring from the water and fell in.

A jogger who was passing by managed to make contact with the man and held him by his arms until emergency services arrived at the scene to assist.

Irish Independent