Litter of plastic and paper and all other sorts are a major concern to most Irish people. In recent years there have been two positive powerful movements in Ireland which are helping to improve the quality of our countryside, rivers and the seas that flow around us.
The first movement was started some years ago by a very wonderful man who I have known for as long as I can remember, Tom Cavanagh from Fermoy. Tom, who in his business life ran a very successful motor dealership, started and funded a movement called the “Business against Litter” association which has been such a wonderful help to Ireland in its fight against litter pollution. Tom’s association rates cities and towns on the quality of their litter control. Its success over the years has been phenomenal. Well done Tom and thanks.
The other important group which helps to improve litter control and encourages local people to take more pride in where they live and as a result improves the quality of every town and village in Ireland is “The Tidy Towns Association”, sponsored each year by the Supervalu group set up by the Cork family of Musgrave. I first came in contact with and saw close up the work that a friend of mine, Michael Egan, was doing in relation to the Tidy Towns in Knightstown – a small village on Valentia Island where he lives. Michael, when I met him, was captain of Waterville Golf Club and was working at the weather station on Valentia Island.
Michael is originally from Mayo but has been so long in Kerry that he almost supports Kerry football! Michael has since retired from the Weather Station and works now almost fulltime, all year around, doing everything in his power to improve the quality of his beloved village, to try and get the best mark possible in the Tidy Towns annual results. Naturally one of his targets every year is also to try and stay ahead of his two neighbouring villages Chappletown and Portmagee and by the skin of his teeth he is doing just that. When visiting Valentia, I have often seen Michael on his tractor cutting the grass around Knightstown. That’s the commitment that he and all the other Tidy Towns volunteers make around Ireland every year. It is a truly inspirational movement which does so much to improve the quality of Ireland’s villages and towns and is so important in giving a good impression to all of our visitors. I think it is fair to say that the Tidy Towns Association has improved Ireland in a wonderful way.
Grotto in Slate Quarry, Valentia Island
One other Tidy Towns chairperson I would like to mention is a wonderful lady Ruth Ring who is chairperson of the Cobh Tidy Towns committee. I met Ruth some years ago when she was a nurse in the Silverdale Practice with my GP Sean Browne at Blackrock Hall and have, in recent times, when driving through Cobh, seen the great work that she and the other volunteers have achieved in making Cobh even more beautiful – culminating in another gold medal in this year’s awards. Well done to all!
Tom, Michael and Ruth are some of Ireland’s heroes in the fight against pollution. They are some of the leaders who by their example galvanise others to join them in the important work of keeping Ireland cleaner and more beautiful.
Arriving back from France a few months ago very early in the morning when the Atlantic Ocean was as flat as a pancake, I took a photo of Cobh from the ferry and posted it on Twitter. Ruth saw the photo and decided that it might be a nice photo for the Cobh Tidy Towns calendar for 2019 and asked for my permission to submit it to their judging panel. Naturally, being flattered, I agreed and subsequently Ruth advised me that it was to appear on the front page of their calendar. I am so delighted and will be proud as punch to have their calendar hanging in my office and at home. Well done Ruth on all your great work for Cobh and thanks. If anyone out there in the world of blogging would like a copy of the calendar as an early Christmas present just let me know… and send on a little donation to the Cobh Tidy Towns association. Happy Christmas to all!
Ted Dwyer Family Business