Another National Success for Ballincollig

Tuesday 21 st June, Belfast, Ballincollig take first place in the Large Urban Centre section of Ireland’s Best Kept Town competition for 2016.

This is a massive achievement in an All Ireland competition. In the first place, to be asked to compete was an honour that shows Ballincollig is right up there with the traditional big hitters in Tidy Town’s competitions. To win our section overall is just stunning. In the National Tidy Towns competition Ballincollig has improved year on year since 1998 but little did anyone think this level could be attained. But Ballincollig has reached it and while we did not realise we were getting there it has happened nonetheless. The 2016 competition is currently being judged and we are as usual nervous.

The efforts made by Ballincollig Tidy Towns volunteers, residents, businesses, Clubs, Gateway, CE Scheme and Tús workers and Cork County Council workers and support staff have made this latest achievement possible. More than just individual efforts, it is the combination of efforts aiming for a clean, sharp appearance and a wish to make Ballincollig a great place in which to live, work, shop and relax that makes the difference.

We asked regularly during the year to May for everyone to make an effort in supporting our goal in this competition. For anyone that has done anything, no matter how small, but would not have in other years we can say you made a difference, maybe the difference. To all those that are regularly involved in clean ups or projects we can say, look around you, you have made this happen.

Imagine if we had more help what could be achieved. If you are reading this and you would like to get involved please get in touch. We are not looking to put people into committees or give them responsibilities beyond what they are prepared to offer. We would be grateful to get your time and knowing that your time is so precious it is appreciated all the more. Can you give an hour a week or an hour a month or even an hour a year? If you can, please do.

I suppose we in Ballincollig Tidy Towns are finally realising that maybe, just maybe, Ballincollig could one day win the National Tidy Towns competition. Ballincollig looks great now but it could still be even better. It is not just about litter, but about supporting a stronger people network, creating an environment where business can thrive, working with schools to ensure both young and old get the benefit of the best our area can offer in terms of environment management education.

To get to the dream takes time and effort. Lots of time and effort. Seeing someone clearing weeds in a planted area or at kerbsides without being asked by anyone is inspiring to us. To see someone picking up a piece of litter they did not drop is inspiring to us. To see someone picking up after their dog is inspiring to us. Talking to people getting support and new ideas is most inspiring. All these make a difference. People make the difference. Just an hour will make a difference.

Then again, maybe Ballincollig will never win the National Tidy Towns. In reality it does not matter,

Tom Butler, chairperson Ballincollig Tidy Towns (third from left), receiving the award for Ireland's Best Kept Large Urban Centre from Michael Ring, Minister of State for Regional Economic Development (ROI), at the 2016 Ireland's Best Kept Towns awards ceremony in Riddel Hall, Stranmillis, Belfast. Included, back from left: Garret Kelleher, Pat Clarke, and Tony Whelan BTT. Front from left: Michelle McIlveen, Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (NI) and Miss Doreen Muskett MBE, president Northern Ireland Amenity Council.

Tom Butler, chairperson Ballincollig Tidy Towns (third from left), receiving the award for Ireland’s Best Kept Large Urban Centre from Michael Ring, Minister of State for Regional Economic Development (ROI), at the 2016 Ireland’s Best Kept Towns awards ceremony in Riddel Hall, Stranmillis, Belfast. Included, back from left: Garret Kelleher, Pat Clarke, and Tony Whelan BTT. Front from left: Michelle McIlveen, Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (NI) and Miss Doreen Muskett MBE, president Northern Ireland Amenity Council.Ballincollig is nice and clean and a great place to be and if in trying to win we make it even better then we are winning anyway.