Straffan’s All Ireland win

'Ireland's Best kept Town Awards held in Farmleigh House in Dublin are `John Keegan , Miss Doreen Muskett, Chairman Northern Ireland Amenity Council ,  Mike Lyons , Noeleen Lyons , Joe Mc Bride , Jim Gormley and Joe Boland Director Services Kildare  Pihoto: Maxwells.
VOLUNTEERS at Straffan Tidy Town Association were celebrating on 2 July when the town won “Best Kept Small Town” in the all-Ireland Best Kept Towns Awards run by the Departments of the Environment, North and South.

VOLUNTEERS at Straffan Tidy Town Association were celebrating on 2 July when the town won “Best Kept Small Town” in the all-Ireland Best Kept Towns Awards run by the Departments of the Environment, North and South.

“It is probably the only All-Ireland Kildare will ever win,” commented Joe McBride after the prize was presented at Farmleigh.

This is not the Republic’s National Tidy Town event. Straffan has won in its category since 2006 in Kildare but last week prize was a big boost.

Entry is by invitation only. STTA volunteer, Rose Donovan, said: “We were delighted. It is great recognition for all the work being done by volunteers.”

The award was granted on the basis of presentation of roads and buildings.

It is not easily won. The STTA has a hardcore committee of twelve with up to twenty working on projects such as emptying twelve bins. Litter picking remains a big issue for the group who operate in the vicinity of the K Club. “We pick up a shopping bag every night, including coffee cups said Rose. The K Club helps with the purchase of cheaper flowers but in recent years, funding has come from tidy town prizes for the town of 1,169, which moved categories following the 2011 Census. They expect to have to come knocking on doors shortly.”

While the County Council provides bins, the STTA volunteers have to empty them. Two more are promised.

Rose pointed out that some entrant in the competition have their areas maintained by local authorities. She also said the town was very lucky with the children in the area.

- Henry Baureee