Keadue is Ireland's best kept town
THE WINNERS in "Ireland's Best Kept Towns" competition were announced by Mr. Pat the Cope Gallagher, TD, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government at a ceremony in Belfast City Hall today (30 June). The competition is organised by the Department and the Northern Ireland Amenity Council and supported by SuperValu.
Keadue, Co Roscommon, last year's Tidy Towns Competition winner, has beaten competition from 15 towns and villages from North and South to become 'Ireland's Best Kept Town 2004'. Keadue also won the Best Village award. Other winners are: Best Large Town - Bangor, Co Down; Best Small Town - Kenmare, Co Kerry
In presenting the awards, the Minister echoed the motto on the Belfast City Arms - "Pro tanto quid retribuamus" - "What return shall we make for so much" - by stating, "No award could do justice to the hard work and effort being celebrated here today. However, this awards ceremony is our opportunity to recognise that work in some small way, and thank all the participants for playing their part, not just in Best Kept Towns, but in the "Tidy Towns" and "Best Kept" awards all year round".
A cheque for £2,500/3,200 was presented to each of the three award winning centres and Keadue received an additional 3,200 for the overall award.
Congratulating Keadue on their success, Chairman of NIAC Doreen Muskett, expanded on the growing success of Ireland's Best Kept Towns and duly noted that the winners of the individual categories came from all over Ireland. She said: "Ireland's Best Kept Town Awards" brings together the two schemes in Northern Ireland and the Republic Of Ireland, and through a healthy spirit of competitiveness, a very good natured event has emerged. Each town is extremely complimentary about the other towns in the competition - there is a real feeling of mutual respect coupled with a clear ambition to improve on their performance for next year's event. That can only have positive effects for communities across Ireland"
Nigel Briggs, Managing Director of Musgrave-SuperValu-Centra NI, said; "SuperValu is proud to sponsor Ireland's Best Kept Town Awards in keeping with our ethos of supporting the local communities in which we trade. There are now more than 200 independently-owned SuperValu outlets across Ireland, based at the heart of local towns and villages, with the individual store owners and their staff making a major contribution to the quality of life in the communities they serve. Support of, and participation in, the Best Kept Towns has made, and will continue to make, a real difference to the environment and local communities throughout the island. "
Ireland's Best Kept Towns Awards, now in its ninth year, was initiated when the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC) and the then Department of the Environment, agreed that an All-Ireland competition would help raise the profile of both "Tidy Towns" and "Best Kept" and consequently the standard of towns and villages across the island of Ireland. The competition also affords an opportunity to build new links and friendships between communities North and South. SuperValu have sponsored the competition since its inception.
All entrants were marked against strict adjudication criteria which included cleanliness, the outward appearance of buildings, the presentation of roads and public facilities and the natural environment.
This year also had more focus than ever before on environmental criteria. The impact of anti-litter and 'green' projects are considered a crucial part of the competition. Judges also considered how communities are using open spaces to encourage and preserve wildlife though planting trees and wildflower meadows.
Category Winners of the 2004 Best Kept awards and the Tidy Towns competitions in Northern Ireland and Republic Of Ireland respectively, will be participants in the Ireland's Best Kept Towns 2005 event which will be held in Dublin. The standards are expected to be even greater and the competition even stiffer. With the growing success of this event one thing's for sure - Irelands Best Kept Towns keep getting better.