Recognition for diligent Athlone Tidy Towns committee is long overdue - O’Rourke

Formal recognition for the consistent and diligent work conducted by Athlone Tidy Towns is wholly deserved, Cllr Aengus O’Rourke stated this week.

Having secured consecutive Gold Medal awards at the annual National Tidy Towns competition, the volunteer members of the Athlone Tidy Towns committee strive to continually present the town to the highest cleanliness standards, their unstinting work most noticeable to natives and visitors on a regular basis.

“It was my pleasure as Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council to honour Athlone Tidy Towns at our Cathaoirleach Awards in 2023. However, I believe a Civic Honour is now overdue. I have therefore proposed that Athlone Tidy Towns receive an Award of Recognition this year for its trojan work around the town and it unwavering dedication to high standards.

“These high standards have culminated in a hat-trick of Tidy Town’s National Gold Medal Awards in 2021, 2022 and again last year, a huge achievement in the ‘large town’ category. The Civic Honour will be bestowed on the committee members and volunteers of Athlone Tidy Towns at a formal reception in the Athlone Civic Reception in the coming months.

“Led by John Butler for many years and now by Gerry Johnson in recent times, Athlone Tidy Towns comprises selfless local individuals who work hard on a voluntary basis to ensure Athlone town is looking its best and is presented as well as possible all year round. They go about their work every week - cleaning, picking, planting, painting and at the core of all this work is a group who look for nothing in return, the majority of these individuals doing such work for decades,” Cllr O’Rourke said.

By way of acknowledging such great work and showing appreciation as a town to the Tidy Towns volunteers, I believe this Award of Recognition is not just worthy but long overdue, Cllr O’Rourke added.

“I was also keen to make the point that this award also acknowledges all those who play a part around Athlone ensuring that their estates, lanes and roads are in good order. It is important that we all play our part, be it during the winter or summer.

“As the largest town in the Midlands region, a growing tourism town, a university town and a vibrant business town, we need to always put our best foot forward and project a good image to those who come to visit, study, work or play,” Cllr O’Rourke concluded.

Vehicle access to Coosan cemetery

Meanwhile, Cllr O’Rourke, has noted the implementation of new times for vehicle access to Coosan cemetery.

“Last year, and in recent years, there were a number of health and safety issues highlighted to the council by the public relating to people driving through the cemetery in an anti-social manner and late at night.

“Also, regrettably a number of headstones were damaged by cars in recent times. Understandably, these incidents of damage to headstones caused huge distress to the families concerned.

“It is not practical to have the cemetery open, managed or supervised 24 hours a day. Therefore, the decision was taken to restrict vehicle access only in the interest of safety and out of respect for all those who have family buried in Coosan,” Cllr O’Rourke said,

The councillor stated that pedestrian access to the cemetery will remain constant for those wishing to tend to the graves of loved ones.

“Pedestrian access will not change, people can gain access as normal. Those who need to drive into the cemetery should do so during the new time allocations.

“I have secured agreement from the council that these new times will operate on a trial basis for six months. If the public have alternative proposals or suggestions relating to vehicle access, then these proposals will be looked at and considered.

“In the meantime, I am pleased to have secured funding in our recent budget to carryout enhancement works in Coosan cemetery this year to improve the surfacing on the pathways and other on going improvement and maintenance works,” Cllr O’Rourke concluded.

 

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