Galway City Council should be rightly encouraged by the results of the city’s first entry in the Tidy Towns competition, which has awarded the city centre a respectable 263 out of a possible 400 points. Killarney, which was named as the outright winner, scored 340 points.
The Tidy Towns report praised the city’s conservation policy in relation to the built environment, singling out the Courthouse, AIB Lynch’s Castle, St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, Town Hall Theatre, the “splendid” Cathedral and St Joseph’s on Presentation road. The adjudicator also said it was nice to see the use of bilingual signs on the shop fronts. They highlighted Eyre Square as an example of the fantastic landscaping and also praised the nice open spaces with well-manicured grass areas and garden seating to relax, in particular the one on the way into the Rowing Club.
The adjudicator said that most of the city centre was “very well presented and spotlessly clean” and praised the efforts to keep the city tidy. However, as always there are reasons to be cautious and Galway City Council should heed its own advice to look to build on the first year’s work to progress further in the Tidy Towns Competition in coming years.
While they pointed out that there were numerous well-serviced litterbins around the city, it found that cigarette butts ended up on the streets for the most part, notably around Shop Street. It also identified something that we have known for years now, that the city faces a continuous struggle in its fight against graffiti and the council will have to examine new ways to make sure that this is stamped out.
Unsightly hoarding around the town has probably been exacerbated by the economic downturn and the council will also have to look at imaginative ways of addressing this growing problem. This paper’s bugbear is the proliferation of weeds, which was also identified in the report, with the adjudicator saying they were surprised to find weeds growing in the gutters of a few shops along Abbeygate Street with the yellow flowered noxious ragwort amongst them.
Galway City Council and The Galway City Centre Tidy Towns Committee are to be congratulated for a valiant first foray into the Tidy Towns competition. They have made great strides; they must now keep that momentum going. 263 out of 400 ain’t bad, but we have some way to go yet.