THE title of a new RTE television documentary has been condemned at Kildare County Council.
The “Dirty Old Town” programme, headed up by horticulturist Diarmuid Gavin features Rathangan and St Patricks’s Park in the town in particular as one of four areas of focus, writes Henry Bauress.
RTE said Mr Gavin wants “to take the dirtiest towns in Ireland, grab them by the scruff of the neck and rally their communities to turn them into places to be proud of.”
But at their meeting on 18 April, some councillors expressed unhappiness with the move at a time when Kildare County Council is to embark on a major social project at St Patrick’s Park, a local authority estate.
“The title is unfair,” said Cllr Fiona O’Loughlin. “Rathangan is a fine town and has a wonderful Tidy Town group.”
She said the production team had for the programme had decided to focus on a small area of the town. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” she said of the “dirty” name applied to the town.
Cllr O’Loughlin said that what concerned her is that Kildare County Council could be seen not to be taking any pro active role in St. Patrick’s Park “when the opposite is true.”
She said the officials have been “very tenacious” in trying to come to grips with problems.
Cllr O’Loughlin acknowledged “there are problems with dumping” in the area and they were having a “tough time due to a small number of people.”
Speaking of the Council’s St Patrick’s Park initiative, Director of Services, Peter Minnock said: “It is almost there. We are at the eleventh hour.”
Mr Minnock said they need clarification on some issues before it consulted with the local community.
RTE said Dirty Old Towns is “a national campaign to give Ireland’s dirtiest towns their pride of place back - not with money, not with the government, but with the people living there.”
The programme has been described as being “about pride, sweat and tears. It’s about changing attitudes across the nation as people take back responsibility for their town. This series pits Diarmuid’s vision, leadership and ability to inspire against the dirty habits of a lifetime,” said RTE announcing the programme.
Apart from Rathangan, Charleville in Co. Cork , Athboy in Co. Meath and Rathkeale in Co. Limerick are being regularly featured. The episode featuring Rathangan will air this Wednesday night (April 27) on RTE 1 at 8 pm.