Report from Annual General Meeting held on Wed 21st April 2021 via Zoom
- What a contrast we have seen in the past two years since our last AGM. As usual we were busy beavering away with clean-ups, litter picking and projects throughout 2019. 2020 on the other hand saw a complete shutdown of all TT activities resulting in no competition with Covid 19 impacting society in a most unprecedented way.
- Our efforts were recognised and rewarded at the Supervalu Tidy Towns Awards in September 2019 when we received another Gold Medal in the national competition – our 6th gold medal in a row!! This achievement is due, in no small way, to the enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of the volunteers on our committee who, although busy with their own occupations and commitments, found time to turn out for meetings and regular routine tidy towns activities like litter picking, painting, weeding, planting etc.
- In the national competition Tullamore is classified as a large town in a population category ranging from 5000 to 15000. We are up against towns like Westport and Killarney. When Westport were category winners in 2012 we were 18 points behind them. They won the category again in 2019 but the difference in our points had been halved to 9. We have been making steady progress in the competition and with the continued support of the organisations, businesses and people of the town I firmly believe we can achieve even more and a category award is a real possibility.
- As well as the national Gold Medal we were also highly commended at county level coming second to Geashill.
- One of our strongest sources of support are the residents’ groups throughout the town and we say well done to them for their invaluable contribution to the way they look after their estates – this again drew very favourable comment from the Tidy Towns judge in the 2019 report.
- The association would like to say a special word of thanks to the Credit Union who have encouraged participation by residents groups and the retail & business sectors of the town in their Tidy Tullamore initiative
- I would like to acknowledge the help and support we got from members of Tullamore Chamber especially those involved in the hanging baskets project which has been an added attraction in the streetscape of the town in the past few years. Members of Chamber also helped out on litter pickups and cleanups and we appreciate that.
- Thanks to the Tullamore Canoe Club for the litter pickups they did on the Grand Canal - they have always been most obliging and willing to help us.
- The hanging baskets and planters around town were watered by workers who came on board through a scheme overseen by Offaly Local Development Company and I would like to acknowledge what they did for us. There is no way we or chamber members could look after the plants on a regular systematic basis so this initiative worked very well for us.
- As usual both Offaly County Council and the Municipal District of Tullamore were a big support to us – not only in terms of funding but also in their work programmes and with their advice and encouragement for example through the Tidy Towns Network. Thanks to John Connelly, Colm Heeney and their staff and the Community & Enterprise staff.
The work being done by council staff on street sweeping and litter picking has been justifiably acknowledged by the town’s placing in the IBAL anti litter league.
Another achievement they can be proud of is the 5th Green Flag awarded for Lloyd Town Park, which is also always favourably mentioned by the TT judges – well done to John Halloran.
The completion of the street enhancement programme has made a huge improvement to our town centre. We look forward to future projects like the Greenway upgrade, the Grand Canal Harbour, the Tullamore “Living River” project and the proposed network of cycle lanes.
- I would like to thank O Dowd Nurseries, Mount Temple for supplying the colourful planting for our planters. Well done to Mike Daly Landscaping for looking after the roundabouts. The council introduced a new roundabout sponsorship scheme and from this year they will be looking after all the roundabouts.
- Thanks to Sr Xavier and Emmet Lynch for facilitating us with our meetings and thanks Mary Teresa for the lovely home baking we enjoyed after the committee meetings.
- I would like to thank all our committee volunteers and the members who look after the secretarial, financial and publicity end of things. A special word of thanks is due to Loughnan Hooper who looks after our entry form for the national competition. Our entry received very favourable comments from the judges.
- I would like to acknowledge the work being done by a number of individuals and community groups who carry out their litter picks around town. Their efforts are very much appreciated and contribute in no small way to the town’s achievements at national competitions.
- While 2020 may have been uneventful in TT terms we look forward with hope and enthusiasm to the resumption of activities in the near future. In this regard, while no official announcement has been made, we have been told that the national Tidy Towns competition will go ahead this year. We understand it will be based on entry form submissions and there will be no physical judging taking place on the ground – the adjudicators will assess each entry remotely.
- We will continue to be mindful of HSE and NPHET advice regarding good hygiene practice and social distancing and in this regard group activities may have to be restricted somewhat.
- However we have a number of projects lined up for this year including
- Wildflower planting at the Grand Canal adjacent to Fiona’s memorial
- Tree planting – between Pearse Pk and the scouts’ den
- Landscaping at the railway bridge Clonminch
- Placing a seat outside the cemetery (in memory of Emer Groonell)
- We are also planning a significant project involving the painting of murals on walls around town. This is somewhat similar to the “Waterford Walls” project. Maybe Loughie will give an outline of what this is about later on.
- We are delighted that “Team Tullamore” has recently been re-established with membership from Offaly County Council, Tullamore and District Chamber of Commerce, Waterways Ireland and Tullamore Tidy Towns. It is an objective of this group to strengthen pride of place and to raise the profile of Tullamore, contributing to the evolution of Tullamore as a quality visitor destination enhancing the attractiveness and vibrancy of the town and contribute to winning the national Supervalu Tidy Towns competition
- As advised at our 2019 AGM a process to come up with a long term development plan for Tullamore Tidy Towns was initiated. We were well advanced with this when Covid 19 put a spoke in the works. We hope to be in a position to finalise the plan within the next few months and launch it during the autumn.