Local towns and villages ‘clean up’ at Anti-Litter Challenge awards
Volunteers from across Cork commended for keeping the environment litter-free
Once again the North Cork region has performed exceptionally well in the 2019 Cork County Council Anti-Litter Challenge - with a number of towns and villages from the area achieving podium finishes.
Now in its 23nd year, the Anti-Litter Challenge, the oldest local authority initiative of its kind in Ireland, differs from Tidy Towns competitions in that its focus is solely on litter, with other advantages of areas such as natural beauty and architecture not considered as part of the judging criteria.
As such, it gives communities that may struggle in Tidy Towns competitions the opportunity to compete on an even footing, and rewards volunteers for their willingness to 'walk the roads' picking up litter.
The 2019 challenge attracted a total of 113 entries from across the county (23 towns and 90 villages), with County Mayor Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan unveiling the towns winners at a gala bash in the County Hall on Tuesday night attended by hundreds of volunteers from communities across the length and breadth of the county.
They were also joined on the evening by overall winners of the villages' divisional competition, the North Cork winners of which had been announced last July.
At the time Coolagown was the top-ranked North Cork village in Category A, going forward to represent the division in the County Final. Kildorrery took the runner-up spot in Category A, with Meelin in third place and Shanballymore winning the 'Most Improved' accolade.
First and second spot in Category B went to Araglin and Knocknagree respectively, meaning that both villages will be promoted to Category A for the 2020 Challenge. Kilcorney finished in third place, with Cullen taking the 'Most Improved' award.
Both Coolagown and Cullen emerged victorious on Tuesday night, with the former winning the overall County village award and Cullen scooping the County 'Most Improved' village award.
Once again Millstreet fared well in the towns section, finishing second in Category A, with Charleville coming third in Category B1 and Newmarket claiming third spot in Category B1.
Speaking at the awards, Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey praised the efforts of all participating communities, pointing out that only "very fine margins" separated the prize-winners from the other entrants.
"The value of volunteer effort in tackling litter deserves to be celebrated widely. The groups present here today, and all of those who took part in the anti-litter challenge, have made a huge impact on the county from the perspective of tourism, natural heritage, and community pride," said Mr Lucey.
Mayor O'Sullivan also prised the spirit of voluntarism among Cork communities that has helped make the challenge such a success and the envy of local authorities across the rest of the country.
"Cork County Council's Anti-Litter Challenge was the first of its kind in the country, with other counties looking to emulate its success. By focussing only on litter, the strength of community groups and pride of place are pushed to the forefront and I commend every community that entered and in particular the dedicated volunteers working among them," he said.
1st: Castletownbere - €1,000
2nd: Millstreet - €750
3rd: Youghal - €500
Blarney, Carrigaline and Clonakilty - €200 each.
1st: Dunmanway - €1,000
2nd: Carrigtwohill - €750
3rd: Charleville - €500
Skibbereen, Crosshaven, Fermoy, Ballincollig, Schull, Macroom - €200 each
1st: Passage West - €1,000
2nd: Kinsale - €750
3rd: Newmarket - €500
Mitchelstown, Mallow, Bandon, Kanturk - €200 each
Village County Finals:
1st: Coolagown - €900
2nd: Berrings - €650
3rd: Kilmacsimon Quay - €400
Town: Bantry - €250.
Village: Cullen - €250.