Monday 15 July 2019

Fermoy slips down IBAL litter league

Two car parks let down town on latest IBAL table

Bill Browne

Retaining the coveted top spot it secured on the final Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) league table for 2018 was always going to be a tough for Fermoy, given the very tight margins between the top towns surveyed.

So it proved to be with the town, despite holding onto its coveted and hard earned 'Cleaner Than European Norms' status, slipping down to 10th spot on the latest IBAL league rankings. 

As can often be the case, the standings can be somewhat deceptive, particularly given the fact that the majority of sites surveyed in Fermoy by the An Taisce judges were given a glowing clean bill of health. 

Indeed, eight of the 10 sites surveyed were afforded the top 'Grade A' designation, with the judges saying that one of them, the "heavily littered" recycling facility in the car park at the end of Patrick St, "brought Fermoy down the rankings." 

"It was in a very poor state - and did not get like that overnight," said the judges.

The only other site not to achieve top mark was the Library Car Park. By contrast, they were fulsome in their praise for the Town Park, describing it as "an exceptional site." 

"It has been beautifully laid out and is clearly a very well managed and respected environment. The River Walk (Thomas Ashe Quay) was another excellent site - a lovely riverside environment with seating, it was very good with regard to litter," said the judges.

The chair of Fermoy Tidy Towns, Cllr Noel McCarthy, said that while Fermoy's latest standing on the table was "disappointing", it should not take from the fact that the overall report was a good one. 

"While the two car parks let us down, there are plenty of positives to be taken from the report. We still managed to retain top grading in 80% of the sites, which is a fantastic achievement, by any standard," said Cllr McCarthy. 

He said that, in light of this, there was no reason why Fermoy could not regain its position at the summit of the league table. 

"As far as I am concerned this is just a blip. These things are judged on very slender margins. We know the areas that need to be improved and can work on them, while at the same time maintaining the high standards at all of the other sites," said Cllr McCarthy. 

"What the latest table does show is that there is no room for complacency and that everybody using these bring sites need to do so in a responsible manner and the appropriate sanctions are brought against those who don't. The monitoring of CCTV cameras in the car parks has a huge role to play in this," he added.

Fermoy Report Card

R639 from M1 from Dublin Direction - Grade A: 

'A clean and tidy impression was created along this road. 'Welcome to Fermoy' and 'Please Keep Fermoy a Cleaner Town' notices indicate a pride in the town. There were no visible litter issues'.

McDonald's at Circle K Station - Grade A:

'The area directly outside McDonald's was an exceptionally fresh and clean environment. Paving, picnic tables and small playground were in excellent condition. It was spotless. There were opportunities for 'separating waste' within McDonald's'.

Rathealy Approach Road - Grade A:

'A narrow and quite rural and windy route, it got the top litter grade - but only just. Closer to the town there were some hanging baskets, contributing some bright colour.'

Recycle Facility in Car Park (end of Patrick St) - Grade C:

'This Bring Centre was in very poor shape. The signage on the clothing unitswas so old it was worn away. The bottle/can units were fresh in appearance but this is where the word 'fresh' and this facility ends. As well as stuffed items between, beneath and behind the units there was broken glass on the ground, a bag of bottles left beside the units (not overflowing) and cardboard boxes were strewn about. The large CCTV signage on the wall is being completely ignored. Sites don't get into this state overnight'.

Patrick Street - Grade A:

'The dedicated chewing gum and cigarette butt facilities on street poles appear to be having the desired effect as the lack of both on the paving was very noticeable. There were a certain number of 'vacant / unoccupied' premises - attempts had been made to 'take the bare look' off some of them, but not all.Clearly a careful eye is kept on these premises as there was no litter directly associated with them, bar one at the end of the street.Overall, Patrick Street was excellent with regard to litter'.

Car Park at Library - Grade B:

'An extensive site where clearly big work has been done to tidy up the perimeter planted area - these have been cut right back. The main car park surface was good with regard to litter but there were a couple of incidents of abandoned bags of items and a trolley at the bottom of the long steps. The recycle facility was also littered. Overall, this car park has the appearance of having the potential to be littered, if not carefully monitored'.

Emmet Street - Grade A:

'There is no doubt that great care is taken with the presentation of Emmet Street - some of the residential houses were brightly painted and there was Tidy Town signage outside the XL shop indicating 'Best Renovation' project. There was detailed 'Dog Fouling' notice re mess, smell and disease at the residential end of the street. Overall, it was very good with regard to litter'.

Riverwalk at Thomas Ashe Quay: Grade A:

'This lovely stretch of riverside environment was excellent with regard to litter. The wooden boardwalk, stone and wooden seating, life-belts, bins, tree planting along the footpath and picnic tables on the grass area were all in exceptionally good condition. A top-ranking site throughout'.

Fermoy Town Park - Grade A:

'A real jewel in Fermoy. It is clearly a very well cared for and respected environment. All aspects of the area surveyed were in very good order e.g. PE equipment, seating, playground, signage, planted areas etc. There was a complete absence of litter throughout Fermoy Town Park'.

Mallow Approach Road: Grade A:

'A lovely first impression of Fermoy is created travelling along this route. It was clear of litter and very well maintained'.